Local schools are getting state attention after strong student performances last week at the 88th annual Pennsylvania FFA State Convention hosted at Penn State.
At least one local school will also be recognized nationally.
Among FFA award winners were students from Bald Eagle, Penns Valley, State College and Tyrone area high schools; Central Mountain High School; Central Pennsylvania Institute of Science and Technology; and Sugar Valley Rural Charter School.
FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national organization and youth development program that provides agriculture-based learning, hands-on trade work and leadership training for high school students.
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CPI FFA team headed to nationals in October in Indianapolis
In October, an FFA team from CPI instructor Joe Luther’s landscape and horticulture class will head to Indianapolis for the 90th annual National FFA Convention and Expo.
Luther said Wednesday that his team punched its tickets to nationals after placing first in the state on June 14 for the Nursery/Landscape Career Development event.
The next closest school was 240 points behind CPI, according to an FFA document.
“It’s about basically teaching in a way that leads up to this, but as part of class curriculum, we have FFA Fridays,” Luther said. “We’re looking at plant material and designs, and even look at real work projects where they have to design a landscape and hardscape, and try to sell their idea. It’s about preparation and real work and getting out into the community, because these kids might say, ‘Hey, I’m interested in getting a business started,’ and this experience helps.”
The four-member team performed in six skill-set activities, including completing a 50-question exam; identifying plants, insects and more; estimating how much equipment and material would likely be used in a landscape design; and performing customer service duties.
Luther said the team also had 20 minutes to design a landscape and hardscape project, and then pitch the idea to the judges.
The team also won individual awards.
Four-member CPI team won gold, silver and bronze awards
Junior Alexis Witherite took first, junior Charlee Harris placed second and senior Derek Rishel got third place. The three were also given gold status.
The fourth team member, Nichole Haupt, placed seventh with bronze status.
“The kids deserve all the credit,” Luther said. “They’re working hard and really proud of what they put into it.”
Luther said he’s now working with an advisory board and industry leaders to help improve his program.
“A lot of it comes from others letting us know what’s current and changing so we can enhance the program,” he said. “It’s great because we find out what’s new, and my kids are the first to get their hands on it. It’s about building relationships with the community and industry.”
2017 FFA Activities Week winners
Bald Eagle Area FFA
Scrapbook CDE, Silver
2017 National Chapter Award, Silver
Emily Trigg earned a state Proficiency Award in Goat Production
Penns Valley Area FFA
Silver: Lillie Martin, Chloe Bidelspach
Bronze: Katie Breon
Veterinary Science CDE
Penns Valley Area team placed second and got a $450 award. They will represent the state at the Eastern States Expo in September in Massachusetts
Gold: Abby Zajacowski
Silver: Lauren Fox, Alyssa Snook
State College FFA
Justin Kurtz was elected as an FFA state officer for the 2017-18 school year
Poultry Evaluation CDE
State High placed second as a team, and will represent the state at the Eastern States Expo
Gold: Joanna Everhart, Evan Kocher
Silver: Becky Royer, Dillon Kocher
Bronze: Michaela Burkey
Employment Skills Career Development
Bronze: Megan Royer