Each year at the National FFA Convention & Expo, five awards are given to outstanding chapters across the nation. These chapters are recognized for exhibiting excellence in categories such as growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture. By providing educational experiences for members, the chapters have learned important life skills.
Model of Excellence Winner—Marshall FFA of Missouri
Marshall FFA is recognized as the 2018 Model of Excellence chapter because of its work with Avian Influenza (bird flu.) Knowing that this disease has the ability to severely impact agriculture, the chapter decided to take action.
“Our game warden came in for a career presentation the first week of school, and our members decided they wanted to get involved with conservation,” said Chapter Adviser Tyler Burgin. “He said we could test birds for bird flu, and the kids are already begging to do it again.”
In order to help prevent an outbreak of bird flu, Marshall FFA worked with the Missouri Department of Conservation to monitor migratory waterfowl. The chapter members learned how to test birds for the disease, why testing is important, and how to educate hunters on the disease.
In addition to working with bird flu education and prevention, the chapter also focused on community involvement by hosting a dinner and silent auction to kick off deer season. The proceeds from this event went to providing scholarships for the chapter members.
Through these activities, the 171 members of Marshall FFA have learned the importance of community involvement, financial responsibility and communication.
“I can’t even begin to describe what this means to our chapter,” said chapter secretary Gracyn Bristow. “When we go home and hang up this award, I’ll see every FFA member walking down the halls with their shoulders up, chin up, and pride in their face because they know they are making a difference within their chapter.”
Premier Chapter: Growing Leaders Winner—Hope FFA of Indiana
After recognizing a rise in suicides, Hope FFA was determined to create a cultural change. The chapter began a campaign titled “Go Live Yourself.”
Members collaborated with their school administration to hold a convocation encouraging students to be better friends, partners and leaders. They also taught peers coping strategies and how to help others, as well as themselves.
Hope FFA encourages everyone to find peace and help one another.
Premier Chapter: Building Communities Winner—Goreville FFA of Illinois
For Goreville FFA, the last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” stands out. The phrase is so important to the members that they created a “Living to Serve” book that draws a connection between FFA membership and military service.
For this book, members interviewed and wrote stories featuring 20 veterans from three wars, sought financial support to publish the book, and created a book signing event to celebrate the 200 copies printed. While veterans were able to share their stories through this platform, the chapter’s members learned valuable writing and communication skills.
Premier Chapter: Strengthening Agriculture Winner—Chapman FFA of Kansas
To celebrate the 100th anniversary of their school’s agricultural education program, Chapman FFA partnered with their alumni chapter to hold a daylong celebration. Alumni members traveled from far and wide to bond with classmates, listen to keynote speakers, and view decades of FFA memorabilia.
The event, however, didn’t just benefit alumni. It gave current students the chance to showcase their supervised agricultural experience projects, network with alumni, and see the impact their chapter has had on so many members over the years.
This event allowed members of Chapman FFA to see the reach and impact agricultural education has had on their community.
Middle School Model of Excellence Winner—West Jackson Middle School FFA of Georgia
In order to encourage entrepreneurship and career readiness, West Jackson Middle School FFA developed an Ag Market Product sale.
For this sale, members channeled their creativity to make items like snacks, pet rocks, slime, sugar scrub, and bookmarks to sell to the local community. The experience allowed students to learn about product development, marketing, business management, and money management.
In addition to their sale, the chapter also raised more than $1,300 during National FFA Week, which purchased food and personal items for their community.
For more information on the National Chapter Award Program, visit FFA.org/nationalchapter.
Cheyenne Dunn is a senior at Purdue University studying Agricultural Communication. As a former member of Greensburg FFA Chapter, she is working as a reporter during the 91st National FFA Convention and Expo.