By: Alyssa Rackley, Contributing Writer
On April 19-20, 2018, FFA members from across the state met in Columbia to honor members for exceptional accomplishments, conduct association business, elect new officers and participate in leadership workshops. The theme for this year’s convention was RISE. Thousands of students attended the event located at the Hearnes Center on the University of Missouri campus. The association presented State FFA Degrees to 756 members who qualified for the state’s highest FFA degree. FFA members had the opportunity to participate in a number of organization program areas including speaking competitions and career development events such as agricultural sales, floriculture and livestock evaluation.
Centralia FFA was the Model of Innovation winner in the area of Building Communities and was the Top Chapter Award winner out of 343 chapters in the state, earning a Top Chapter Award at the convention. Only 10 percent of state chapters receive a top chapter designation each year. Chapter activity awards, sponsored by FCS Financial, are given to chapters achieving excellence in student, chapter and community development. The Centralia FFA advisors are Philip Neely, Lori Lewis and Scott Stone.
The Centralia FFA student development activities included Build a Better You. Senior members were encouraged to complete a resume-building course and participate in an interview with local employers to give students feedback to enhance employability skills. In addition, Centralia FFA partnered younger and older FFA members to help develop strong supervised agricultural experience programs. Chapter development activities included dividing all members into small groups, or “herds.” Group leaders were charged with keeping members informed about events and encouraging attendance. In addition, Centralia FFA works with the Centralia FFA Alumni and Boosters and Centralia Young Farmers in order to receive assistance for student learning activities.
Community development activities included Shop Local. Members sold locally-produced items as part of their annual fruit sales to help promote local producers. In addition, Centralia FFA processed 150 Red Oak seedlings to give to fourth-grade students to plant at their homes. They also conducted a tree planting ceremony to demonstrate the importance of preserving the environment.
The Missouri FFA Association honored Mary Benoit of the Centralia FFA Chapter as Area 4 Star in Agriscience. The association also recognized Jaymi Freeman, Rebekah Angell and Mary Benoit for receiving their State Degree at the convention. Centralia FFA Chapter placed third in the FFA agricultural issues forum leadership development event. Centralia team members included Mary Kate Bennett, Emily Bruns, Griffin Holliday, Shane Rhoads, Anna Romine, Garrett Schuering and Zane Stone. Three Centralia FFA members participated in the State FFA Choir: Mary Kate Bennett, Tyler Reinerd and Kody Walters.
The FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.