August 2017
Youth Matters

Alabama FFA Celebrates 89 Years at Its Annual State Convention

On Tuesday, June 6, 2017, FFA members and advisors traveled to the Auburn area to compete in Career and Leadership Development Events on the state level. These events cover everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams.

The next day marked the first general session of the 89th Annual Alabama FFA State Convention! Jacob Davis, Alabama FFA State Advisor, challenged the members and advisors to make a difference. The introduction of the 2017-2018 State and National Officer Candidates took place and was followed by the 2016-2017 District Officer introductions. At the end of the first session, members, advisors and guests had the opportunity to hear David Townsend, National FFA President, give a keynote speech. At the second session, past state officers were recognized and the Star Farmer Ceremony began. Cameron Catrett, from the South District and Brantley FFA Chapter, was recognized as the State Star Farmer.

 

Left to right, the Cold Springs FFA String Band takes home the first place banner. Alabama is the only state to continue to recognize this talent development event. Central High School, of Clay County, displays their banners for another successful year.

Thursday marked an exciting day for members as they were awarded in their Career and Leadership Development areas, Crime Prevention Awards and 100% Chapter Membership Awards. That night, at the fourth general session, the National Chapter Award recipients were recognized. The Mindy Stringer Memorial Scholarship recipient, Evan Dulaney, and the Francis Mizell Scholarship recipient, Hannah McBurnett, were awarded. Members had the pleasure of hearing Keith Richards, founder of Taziki’s Mediterranean Café, and learn about Taziki’s Herbs Offering Personal Enrichment, HOPE, project. HOPE is an outreach program originally developed by Keith Richards, in partnership with the Shelby County school system in Birmingham. HOPE is a vocational-study partnership allowing students with special needs to learn all aspects of the herb business. Their goal is to empower and inspire students with special needs by hiring and teaching them to grow, harvest and sell fresh herbs used at numerous Taziki locations. Members who received Proficiency Awards were recognized. The Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, have developed specialized skills they can apply toward their future careers. Students can compete for awards in 47 areas, covering everything from Agricultural Communications to Wildlife Production and Management.

Friday marked the fifth and final session of the convention. In this session, members heard from Sierra Goodwin, state president, as she gave her retiring address, the 2016-2017 state officers’ advisors and parents were recognized, and members watched the State Officer’s Year in Review. The 2017-2018 State Officers were elected.

 

The newly elected Alabama FFA State Officer Team for 2017-2018 are (from left, back) Jasey Black, Will Jordan, Gracen Sims, Bryce Hendricks, (seated) Cameron Catrett and John Crawford.

The process to be elected as an Alabama FFA State Officer is challenging, but a great experience for all those involved. This process starts at the district level. Candidates compete against one another to make it in the top four positions. By doing this, one has made State Candidacy and will be interviewed with the other districts’ top four candidates at State Convention. The candidates spend several months studying and preparing for the interview and selection process. Candidates will complete an application, take a test, write a formal business letter and go through numerous challenging interviews. The nominating committee works diligently to select the new officers. The 2017-2018 Alabama FFA State Officers are Cameron Catrett, president; John Crawford, vice president; Gracen Sims, secretary; Jasey Black, treasurer; Will Jordan, reporter; and Bryce Hendricks, sentinel.

There were approximately 2,000 members, advisors and guests in attendance this year at the Alabama FFA State Convention. Over 200 members received their State FFA Degree. Our new state officers can’t wait to see you next year at the 90th Annual Alabama FFA State Convention!

 

Gracen Sims is currently serving as the 2017-2018 Alabama FFA State Secretary and is from the Marbury FFA Chapter in Autauga County.