Haley Evans, a junior studying agriscience education was awarded her American FFA Degree at the 91st National FFA Convention. Here is what she had to say:
“Receiving my American Degree means closing a 6 year chapter of my life. Throughout these 6 years I had many SAE projects including market goats, dairy beef feeder calfs, and multiple job placements. I also gained leadership experiences, life long friendships, participated in many CDE’s, and made many memories that I am thankful for. What I am most thankful for throughout my time in FFA is that it lead me to choose my career path as a future Agricultural Educator.”
Evans with her American Degree.
Thanks to the support of my family, friends, Kenton City Schools, Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, my advisor Mrs. Shalie Logan, and great members of the Hardin County community, I am extremely thankful to have received my American FFA Degree at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in Agricultural Education courses in high school, and become a member of the FFA. The organization has not only opened a number of doors for me, but has also provided me with skills and knowledge that can’t be learned anywhere else.
Kolt (pictured with American Degree) and his family.
Eggleton with her advisor.
Our days are numbered- to conquer our fears, make an impact, and influence others in our blue corduroy jackets . 4 years in the classroom; 1,460 days that we as FFA members get to zip up our corduroy jackets, to break the boundaries of our comfort zones, and to better ourselves as leaders. As I reflect on my time in the Miami Trace FFA Chapter, I recognize all the opportunities I was given and I realized all the opportunities I did not take advantage of. I recognize my participation in several CDEs- 2 at a national level, the lives impacted through community service and interaction, and my leadership positions of community development officer and president. I realize the classes, CDEs, and opportunities I missed out on to diversify myself because of fear of failure.
Zipping up the jacket one last time embodied the achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists. The unity and tradition instilled within the organization and agriculture are not finalized. I now get to serve those — community members, progressive agriculturists, supporters, family members, friends, and agricultural educators— who made my involvement in FFA worthwhile. Additionally, I get to serve the next generations of agriculturists as they embark on their journey within the FFA in their jackets. As a preservice agricultural educator, I already find the joys and reward in aiding members in finding their passions. It takes just one — individual, community service activity, conference, convention, career development event, action, voice, etc. — to make an impact. Be the one.
Eggleton with other recipients.
Schaffter with her American Degree
Simply put, my FFA experience has been incredible. The people I’ve met, the skills I have gained, and the fun that I’ve had are unlike any that another organization can provide students with. I had so much fun and wonderful experiences in FFA that I am a little sad to finally hang up my jacket, but I am excited to see what opportunities the FFA Alumni Association can provide me with, and what I can do for current members as an alum. Earning my American Degree really proves to me that I can accomplish anything that I set my mind to, and it is a huge honor to be proud of considering only 1% of FFA members receive the degree. It also makes me proud to be an Ohioan because we had the second most recipients compared to all other states. Additionally, the recipients of American Degrees at the 91st National Convention set a record for the most degrees awarded, so that is another thing to be proud of!
Schaffter with her family
Schaffter with her advisor
Schaffter with other American Degree Recipients
Congratulations to the 28 students studying agricultural communication, agriscience education or community leadership who receive their American Degree today during the National FFA Convention.
One Organization. One Blue Jacket. Endless Opportunities.
Meredith Oglesby, Hillsboro FFA
“I believe in the future of agriculture.” This simple statement is presented by countless first year FFA members each year. Some saying it simply because their FFA advisor made it an assignment, while others are competing in the creed contest. These students having no idea the impact one organization, one blue corduroy jacket can have. I was one of these students, I never imagined that the early morning competitions, National Convention trips, and the countless memories made with my FFA Chapter would shape me into the individual I am today.
The American FFA Degree is the highest degree a FFA member can achieve. On October 28, 2017 I was fortunate enough to earn this degree, ending a six year journey through the FFA. Receiving this degree meant all the hard work had paid off. My SAE projects I maintained to be able to receive this degree included raising, showing, and selling market beef cattle and market lambs. I also maintained a herd of 25 breeding cattle. I grew pumpkins and gourds to sell to family and friends during the fall and also developed a garden at the Highland County Homeless Shelter.
I will never be able to express how grateful I am for the experience I had through the FFA. I was fortunate enough to serve as the 2016-2017 Ohio FFA State Vice President where I advocated for agriculture and Agricultural Education, while engaging with students to increase their leadership skills. Traveling through the state meeting FFA members and seeing the diversity of this organization showed me the future of agriculture is bright. I will hang this degree on my wall to serve as a reminder of the organization where I discovered a passion for the agricultural industry, gained some of my closest friends, and found a love for serving others. Wearing my blue corduroy jacket may have come to a close but I will always be a proud supporter of the FFA. I will continue to encourage others to immerse themselves in an organization that allows you to find your purpose and embrace your passion.
Oglesby with her American FFA Degree.
This has been a long-term goal of mine since I entered into FFA my freshman year of high school. There was a wall in our classroom that showed just a few pictures of those who had received their American degree in the past. I knew at the time that very few FFA members typically got it because of all the work that was needed, but I was determined to have it. So, every year I worked my way up, getting each of my degrees until I could accomplish my ultimate goal. I had a wide variety of SAE projects that I spent a lot of time with. I raised my own personal flock of show sheep, raised market hogs and took many different agri-science fair projects over the years. Finally receiving this degree was such an amazing experience and I hope to help my future students achieve their goals just as my FFA advisor helped me to achieve mine.
Orr with her American Degree.
By Maggie Hovermale
On October 28, 2017, I zipped up and unzipped my blue corduroy jacket for the final time. Getting an American FFA Degree is something that all FFA members are encouraged to strive for, and I was in denial that it was finally my turn. I had spent many FFA conventions as a member sleepily watching people from my chapter walk across that stage to receive that gold key. So much time and experiences have happened between then and now and I’m so thankful for the young woman I am today because what that blue jacket has taught me.
That day was a special one, because it marked the first two American FFA degrees from Stoneridge FFA, the chapter I helped to build from the ground up with my peers, and my agricultural educator who is an ACEL alum, Mrs. Rachel Scior, ’04. I had held in the tears in until Mrs. Scior pulled me aside and said, “Thank you. You helped build this FFA chapter and I’m forever grateful for your dedication. You are leaving a lasting impact.” I felt so humbled and so much love from that statement… and then began to cry.
That moment reminded of me of exactly why I am pursuing a degree in agriscience education, to leave a lasting impact. I thought I’d be sad hanging up my jacket for the final time, but instead felt excited knowing that the next chapter of my life is full of hope, leading, teaching, and soon taking my own group of students to convention.
Maggie wth her advisor Mrs. Rachel Scior, after receiving her American FFA Degree.
Maggie with members of the Stoneridge FFA Chapter.
The Department of Agricultural Communication, Education, and Leadership had 17 students receive their American Degree at the 2017 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 28th.
The American FFA Degree is awarded to members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA and made significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences (SAEs). Approximately 4,000 American FFA Degrees were handed out this year at the National FFA Convention. This number represents less than half of one percent of all FFA members, making it one of the organizations highest honors. In addition to their degree, each recipient receives a gold American FFA Degree key.
Those students from our Department who received this honor include:
Lea Kimley, Southeastern FFA
Adison Niese, Shelby FFA
Meredith Oglesby, Hillsboro FFA
Ellen Dicken, Buckeye Valley FFA
Brittany Heigley, Morgan FFA
Caleb Hickman, Mt. Vernon FFA
Maggie Hovermale, Stoneridge FFA
Alexis Howell, Paulding FFA
Taylor Lutz, Colonel Crawford FFA
Cody Myers, Greeneview-GCCC FFA
Taylor Orr, Utica FFA
Jon Stepp, Bloom Carroll FFA
Emma Sterwerf, Talawanda FFA
Sara Thwaits, Marion Local FFA
Brittany Weller, Bellevue FFA
Blake Willeke, Ada FFA
Emily Bauman, Ohio Valley Vocational FFA