Six Big Walnut High School students, five seniors and one junior, have received the highest FFA honor that can be bestowed on them at the state level, the State FFA Degree; and all six students are 2013-14 Big Walnut/DACC FFA officers — Katelynn Cheadle (President), Kaitlyn Headlee (Reporter), Bradyn Dronsfield (Assistant Officer), Austin Hale (Sentinel), Shane Hanly (Vice President) and Kristen Hill (Secretary).
Big Walnut’s Ag Science teacher Jeni Reely said students cannot apply for a State FFA Degree until their junior or senior years, but working towards the goal typically begins when they enter high school.
“They’ve all put in a lot of hard work to get to this level,” Reely said. “All the work has to be done by themselves, it’s a long process that’s extended over four years. They usually start with a project as freshmen, and in their junior or senior year they decide to go for their state degree.”
Reely said there are specific requirements for receiving an FFA State Degree. The students first had to receive a Chapter FFA Degree, been an FFA member for at least two years, have school instruction in agricultural education, and earned and productively invested at least $1,000 in a supervised agricultural experience project.
There are also leadership qualifications, community service requirements and active participation in their FFA chapter’s program activities.
“These students will receive their State FFA Degree at the Ohio FFA Convention at the Ohio State Fairgrounds in Columbus on May 1,” Reely said. “This is the highest degree FFA members can earn in the State of Ohio, but these students can now go on and work towards their American Degree.”
Reely said most of the current Big Walnut/DACC FFA State Degree recipients are from farm backgrounds, many will continue their education in agriculture or agriculture-related fields.
There are over 23,000 FFA members in 300 chapters statewide. FFA is the largest high school youth organization in America, with a national membership roster approaching half a million students.
Big Walnut High School Ag Science classes and participation in BW/DACC FFA teaches a broad range of leadership, goal setting and communication skills, with a focus on setting long-term goals and identifying short-term goals needed to reach them.
For additional information about FFA in Ohio go to < www.ohioffa.org/ >.