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Students celebrate National FFA Week

Students celebrate National FFA Week

Posted: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 8:00 pm

The Obion County Central FFA chapter recently joined more than a half million members nationwide in celebrating over 80 years of FFA traditions during National FFA Week.
The theme for this year’s celebration was “I Believe.”
Through agriculture education and hands-on learning, members prepare for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industry.  
The motto for the National FFA Organization is “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” The Obion County Central FFA has been living the motto and has been busy this school year showing livestock, participating in career development events and volunteering throughout the community.
“Growing up, I was fortunate to have a father who was an FFA advisor. My dad bestowed an inborn fondness in me for agriculture which came about when he taught me about the true value of agricuulture and displayed this value to me on the family farm,” said chapter president Mary Helen Driver.
“Even as a child, I could see that agriculture was a part of me. I made a promise that agriculture was my past, present and would always be in my future. FFA has allowed me to adhere to that promise and allow me to grow in more ways than I ever thought possible,” Miss Driver, who is also the 2011-12 West Tennesee FFA Sentinel, added.
Carly Whipple, chapter co-reporter, also came from an agriculture background. “I was raised around an agricultural environment all my life, and when I started high school I started my first agriculture class. It was a great experience which started my passion for the FFA. FFA has changed my life in so many ways. It has taught me responsibility and how to communicate with others. If someone asked me if they should join FFA, I would say ‘yes’ because it will change your life.”
Chapter co-reporter Whisper Gardiner and chapter chaplain Shelly Pate had different thoughts about FFA when they first started their high school careers.
“When I took the introductory agriculture course my freshmen year, my teacher was very persistent on me joining FFA. I am all about agriculture! Therefore, I joined FFA after I realized how much it can progress my future,” Miss Gardiner said. “FFA is an awesome organization for anyone who wants to get involved in agricultural experiences of many kinds. Also, FFA can help students receive scholarships for college opportunities. Everything I do with FFA furthers my future goals and it is fun at the same time. FFA is a great opportunity.”
Miss Pate said, “When I first entered high school, I had no intention of joining the FFA. But, when I saw the action of its members, and how they inspired and encouraged others, I wanted to be part of that organization.”
This year the FFA members have been busy visiting with residents of local nursing homes. In the fall, the students took pumpkins to a local nursing home. In December, the members went to a local nursing home and sang Christmas carols to the residents.
The FFA members also wanted to donate to local organizations during the Christmas season. Members went to the local Walmart and purchased food products and donated it to the Chimes for Charity organization.  
Along with being active within the community, FFA members have been taking the knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom and applying it in real-world situations through career development events on the regional and state levels.  
Members of the state horse judging team included Miss Pate, Logan Stephens, Miss Driver and Lauren Berner. They competed in Murfreesboro in September 2011. Out of 72 teams, the Obion County Central team placed 12th. The high scoring individual on the team was Miss Berner.  
The regional horse judging team competed at the University of Tennessee Martin in January. The team consisted of Carrie Wilson, Miss Whipple, Miss Driver and Miss Pate. The team came in fifth place out of a total of 30 teams. Both horse judging teams were coached by one of the new agriculture teachers Sarah Baker.
Stuart Watson, another new agriculture teacher to OCCHS, coached the livestock judging team. The team consisted of Miss Driver, Nancy Davis, Miss Wilson and Miss Whipple. The team competed at the regional competition in November 2011 and came away with first place honors.  
The parliamentary procedure team and the FFA ceremonies contests were in December 2011. The parliamentary procedure team consisted of Miss Driver, Miss Davis, Miss Wilson, Miss Pate, Laina Roberson and Zach Crews. The team was coached by Watson. The regional contest was hosted by Obion County Central FFA and the team came in second in the district.  
The FFA ceremonies team consisted of Lane Baker, Ben Holland, Hunter Woody, Todd Smith, Terrie Faye Doughten, Mikayla Davis and Alexandria Gordon. The team came away with first place honors in the district.  
The agriculture sales team competed in the fall at Jackson State Community College. The team consisted of Stephens, Chance Clanton, Miss Pate, Crews and Miss Gardiner.
Once out of high school, a member can still return and assist the chapter as an alumni.
The FFA Alumni is the “booster club” for the FFA chapter. Even though a resident may have never been an FFA member, anyone who desires to support the FFA, ag education and support the future of agriculture is welcome to be a member of the alumni.
Through a variety of activities, the alumni support the chapter by mentoring with SAE (Supervised Ag Experience) events , assisting with chapter contests, as well as fund raising events. Funds raised benefit the chapter by off-setting costs for camps and conventions or purchasing items for the chapter.
The alumni group meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the OCCHS ag advisors classroom, with the next meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.
Annual membership fees are $20 for individual membership, $30 for family (husband and wife) memberships or a one-time lifetime individual membership fee of $150, which covers local, state and national membership fees.
Additionally, there is a membership challenge in conjunction with the state FFA alumni. The first 10 affiliate alumni chapters to recruit 10 life members at $150 each will receive $1,000 at the Tennessee FFA Alumni Convention held annually in February.
“The Obion County FFA Alumni Chapter welcomes you to join us as we prepare students for the future in agriculture,” alumna Beverly Stephens said.

Published in The Messenger 3.14.12

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