CE-MR-3-MV FFA1by Elizabeth A. Tomlin
State officers of the NYS FFA and officers from the Vernon-Verona-Sherrill FFA Chapter joined the Mohawk Valley FFA Chapter for the 76th Mohawk Valley FFA Annual Banquet and award ceremony on June 20 at the Oppenheim-Ephratah School.
In addition to awarding Discovery Degrees, Greenhand Degrees and Chapter Degrees, NY FFA 2014-2015 State Reporter Kait Isaac, who is also a Mohawk Valley member, reported on the Career Development Event (CDE) and competition, which took place in May at the NYS FFA Convention.
“Our Parliamentary Procedure team placed first in the district,” Isaac stated. “At Substates our Parliamentary Procedure team placed first and moved on to State competition — this would be the first time in Mohawk Valley FFA history that a Parliamentary Procedure team competed.”
Isaac said the team would be competing at the Eastern States Exposition Hall in the fall. “This has been one of Mohawk Valley’s most successful years in CDE’s!”
Liam Sammons and Zach Tinkler reported on events the Chapter had been involved in over the past year.
“Throughout the 2013-2014 school year, the Mohawk Valley FFA has participated in many community events and fundraisers,” said Sammons. Some of these events included setting up booths at the County fair, taking part in Family Farm Day events in several counties, hosting dinners, a flea market and a toy show, as well as selling ‘duck bucks’, flowers and citrus fruits to raise funds. “Finally as an example of our many community service events, earlier this week, we went to Lock 33 to help remove brush,” Sammons concluded.
Tinkler remarked on leadership events that the Chapter had taken part in within their group, which included attending National and State Officer workshops in Stockbridge Valley, attending conferences at Cornell University, team building and leadership activities in Syracuse and other events. “Not only has our Chapter been busy doing community service, hosting events, competing in CDEs and fundraising; but we are also busy constructing leaders!” Tinkler reported.
Freshman Jeff Baker was awarded a trophy as “Most Outstanding Young Individual” by FFA alumni Bill Jones, for his participation and contribution to the chapter. “It is a true honor to receive this award!” said Baker.
Baker announced the Empire Degree awards, which are the highest degrees awarded at the State level and were presented to two of the Mohawk Valley members at the ceremony.
“Receiving the Empire Degree is an absolute honor,” Baker stated. “Students who receive this degree are devoted to the FFA.”
It is required that members receiving the Empire Degree have already received the Chapter Degree, have been active in the FFA for at least 2 years, completed 2 years of classroom agriculture training and instruction, have earned or invested $1,000 or 300 hours in their Ag field, have proven to be a strong leader, be active in their Chapter, have a satisfactory academic record and be active in their community.
The coveted Empire Degree was awarded to Stephanie Arndt and Kait Isaac. Arndt also received a Silver Ranking for her Proficiency Degree in Dairy Production.
2014-2015 officers installed at the ceremony were Zack Tinkler, President; Jeff Baker, Vice President; Liam Sammons, Secretary; Aiden Eggleston, Treasurer; Laiken Whittredge, Reporter; Aryn Feagles, Sentinel and Donna Boyerin the newly added position of Historian.
OESJ High School teachers Kristy Shafer and Christopher Smith are co-advisors for the Mohawk Valley FFA.
Smith commented on Kait Isaac retaining a position of State Officer for the upcoming year.
“Kait served as the 2013-2014 NY FFA District 5 President and now will be the 2014-2015 NY FFA Reporter,” said Smith. “This is the first State Officer in the history of our Chapter!”