Talawanda’s highly-successful Future Farmers of America chapter added more awards to their collection attending this year’s national convention held in Indianapolis.
The Talawanda/Butler Tech chapter has a long history of success, attributed to by banners lining the hallway and classrooms and those recognitions just kept coming at the national convention October 26-29. The chapter sent 22 members to the convention for its four-day run — the “big trip” — and another 22 came for the “day trip” on Thursday of the convention week.
FFA Advisor Carley Snider said there were approximately 50,000 people in attendance at the convention from across the country.
Seniors Kailey Schlichter and Hannah Brewer have been there for the day trip in the past, but this was their first time on the big trip. Both felt they learned a lot and had a good time with the convention activities as well as the side trips which were part of the program.
A highlight for both was the opportunity to meet with students from chapters around the country.
“FFA is like a big family. You meet people from different states, even Hawaii. (FFA members) from all states go. It’s a privilege,” Brewer said. “Without FFA, we would not be able to have that experience. Just standing in line you get to meet people from, like, California.”
Talawanda chapter Vice President senior Rachel Dsuban had an especially memorable moment during the convention when Talawanda was announced as a Three Star Chapter for the 2020-2021 school year. She and treasurer Morgan Gillespie were called up on stage in the massive meeting hall to accept the award.
“It happened so quickly, it was all fast pace,” Dsuban said. “Representing Talawanda was awesome. It was really, really cool, a once in a lifetime thing.”
The FFA website explains chapters can receive gold ratings from their state associations and all those recognized are eligible for national three-star, two-star or one-star awards. Chapters receiving a national three-star chapter rating will be eligible to compete with other chapters receiving a national 3-star chapter rating to compete for the National Premier Chapter Awards, Models of Excellence and Middle School Models of Excellence Awards.
Three Talawanda members, now graduated, received the American FFA Degree, the highest individual award possible. Receiving the degree were Dalton Schlichter, Michael Schwab and Kasey Condo, all 2021 THS graduates.
“As the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association. It demonstrates the effort FFA members apply toward their supervised agricultural experience and the outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement they exhibited through their FFA career,” the FFA web site explains. “To be eligible to receive the American FFA Degree, members must meet qualifications such as receiving a State FFA Degree, holding active membership for the past three years, completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program and operating an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program. Community service, leadership abilities and outstanding scholastic achievement are also required.”
Another individual award for the Talawanda chapter came as member Justin Beckner represented Ohio at the Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest and received a Bronze Rating.
Among the side trips convention attendees were able to make was one to a feed mill.
“They explained how they process and bag the feed,” Kailey Schlichter said. Brewer added she found it interesting they were able to see the process of Linder Feed, a product they use on their own market animals preparing them for showing at the Butler County Fair.
Schlichter said she particularly enjoyed an evening trip to a rodeo.
“I love rodeo, I’ve never been to a rodeo and I was able to see how people react and cheer on the competition,” she said.
Both students said they a good time and enjoyed the convention activities, especially the retiring addresses of the national officers, which they found inspiring.
“They talked about life lessons through FFA and gave tips about being in the moment. It was not just about agriculture,” Brewer said.
Schlichter followed that by saying, “One speaker talked about life motivation and not letting anyone hold you back.”
Also available to participants was a career center, which Brewer explained was divided into two sections – one an industry area where companies could show off their equipment and a section with representatives of colleges from around the country.
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