By: Robin Koppen
JCPS Communication Specialist
SMITHFIELD – Students from Cleveland High, Corinth Holders High, and South Johnston High FFA chapters were recognized at the Johnston County Board of Education meeting on Tuesday, December 14.
Students and their advisors from these three chapters competed at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, IN, from Oct. 27-30.
Corinth Holders High FFA members Gralin Byrd, Emily Oberman, and the entire CHHS chapter won the 2021 National Premier Chapter Winner for Premier Chapter; Strengthening Agriculture.
The Corinth Holders High team is one of just 10 FFA chapters in North Carolina that has a three-star rating. Only teams with 3 stars were eligible to compete for the premier chapter awards.
“My experience in FFA has influenced the way I look at things, “ Oberman said. “Not only have I gained experience by showing livestock and competing in competitions but being in agriculture classes and serving as an officer has taught me so much.”
The Treat of Agriculture Trail event, held at Pace Family Farms in Clayton on Oct. 31, 2020, was the project that earned the Corinth Holders team this exclusive award.
This Halloween activity served as a safer alternative to trick-or-treating during the global pandemic. Participants were encouraged to dress in Halloween costumes.
As participants made their way down the trail, they received treats and goodies from seven commodity groups and eight local agribusinesses. Members planned and ran each booth in order to share all about agriculture with those in the community.
Corinth Holders FFA members submitted their National Chapter Application in April 2021, highlighting how they improved chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture.
Next, South Johnston High’s FFA Farm Business Management team and the Food Science team were acknowledged by the board. They also competed in the national competition bringing home top individual and team honors.
The Farm Business Management team earned Silver and individual placements included Hannah Freeman (Silver,) Jackson Durham (Gold), Emily Pope (Bronze), and Lanie Durham (Bronze).
When asked how FFA will benefit her in adulthood, Durham said, “I now know how to run my own business meetings, write resumes, and serve others with a strong willingness.”
The Food Science Team won Gold and placed 7th overall nationally. Adam Miller won individual Gold and finished second overall in the nation. Other individual winners were Morgan Simpson (Gold) , Josh Williams (Silver,) and Kara Allen (Silver) .
Allen’s time spent in the FFA program has given her a vision and path towards her future. She plans to attend NC State University and major in Food Science.
“By competing on the team, I learned more about Food Science and discovered I enjoy doing things regarding food,” she said.
Next, Cleveland High FFA students Olivia Bondurant, Kaylee McLawhorn, Erin Knittel, and Lilly Benjamin were recognized for their 1st place win for NC in the Milk Quality and Products event. These young folks then represented NC at the national convention earning Bronze.
“FFA is a fascinating organization, filled with endless opportunities,” McLawhorn said. “I have received so many experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.”