The 85th National FFA Convention was an exciting experience for thousands of FFA members from across the nation. Nearly 55,000 members, advisors, parents and supporters converged on Indianapolis, Ind., for the event. Alabama had nearly 500 attendees participating in competitions, workshops, convention sessions and other activities.
One special event that occurred during the convention was the attendance of some special guests. Dr. Philip Cleveland, state director of Career and Technical Education and Workforce Development; Paul Pinyan, executive director of the Alabama Farmers Federation; Brian Hardin, assistant director of Governmental & Agricultural Programs for the Alabama Farmers Federation; Jennifer Himburg, Young Farmers Director for the Alabama Farmers Federation; Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey; Rep. Jay Love, chair of the Ways and Means Education Committee; Tracy Roberts, newly elected state school board member for District 1; and Blaine Galliher, legislative director for the Governor’s Office, all arrived in Indianapolis on Thursday, October 25, and stayed overnight to attend several convention activities. The delegation toured the National FFA Career Show and the FFA Fighting Hunter Initiative where more than 1,000,000 meals were packaged for those in need. They also attended the fourth general session of the convention and joined the Alabama Delegation for breakfast the next morning.
Alabama was well represented by those in attendance. Four Alabama supporters of FFA received the American Honorary FFA Degree. The recipients were Kenneth Boyd who managed the Agriscience Education Print Shop in Auburn for more than 30 years; Mickey Humphries who served as State FFA Vice-President in 1963-1964 and as State FFA Advisor from 2008 to 2010; Mahlon Richburg, agriscience teacher at Auburn High School; and David DeFoor, agriscience teacher at East Lawrence High School.
Alabama also had six recipients of the American FFA Degree. They were Clifton Bailey and Wiley Bailey of Sand Rock FFA, Kacey Colquitt of Marbury FFA, John Eberhart of Fort Payne FFA, William Elliott Maples of Elkmont FFA and Anna Leigh Peek of West Limestone FFA.
In proficiency awards, Alabama had 21 participants in various agricultural areas. Receiving a Gold Award was Jared Lakey of the Falkville FFA Chapter in the area of Outdoor Recreation. Alabama also had six receive the Silver Award and 12 receive the Bronze Award.
Alabama’s State CDE winners performed well at nationals. The Forestry Team from Falkville FFA consisting of Katie Guyse, Tyler Tucker, Tyler Boyer and Zackary Garrison received Gold and placed eighth overall. Receiving Silver was Kathryn Ray of Montevallo in Extemporaneous Public Speaking, Lawrence County FFA in Floriculture and Nursery/Landscape, Danville FFA in Livestock Evaluation and Danielle Cassady of East Limestone FFA in Prepared Public Speaking. Receiving Bronze were Levi Colquitt of Marbury FFA in Creed Speaking, Arab FFA in Dairy Cattle Evaluation and Management, Danville FFA in Horse Evaluation, Enterprise FFA in Meats Evaluation and Technology, Marbury FFA in Parliamentary Procedure and Albertville FFA in Poultry.
The Alabama FFA Association is also extremely proud of Wiley Bailey of the Sand Rock FFA Chapter. The following is a news release about his election as a National FFA Officer:
Wiley Bailey, a recent graduate of Cherokee County’s Sand Rock High School, has just been elected to serve as the 2012-2013 National FFA Southern Region Vice President. FFA, founded in 1928, is focused on preparing students for successful careers in agriculture-related fields. This organization currently has more than 557,000 members. Only six students each year are selected to serve as national officers.
For the next year, this group of dynamic young leaders will travel more than 100,000 miles across the country, engaging top leaders in business, government and education.
"I am excited about this great opportunity," Bailey said. "To accomplish our goals, the national officer team will have to take time to listen and genuinely care about our members’ concerns. My personal goal is to focus on educating more people about the true importance of America’s agricultural industry."
Joining Bailey this year on the FFA officer team are the new National President Clay Sapp (Florida), National Secretary Kalie Hall (Georgia), Eastern Region Vice President Joenelle Futrell (Kentucky), Western Region Vice President Lindsey Anderson (California) and Central Region Vice President Brennan Costello (Nebraska).
The newly elected officer team will lead national leadership workshops for their peers and also help to establish new policies to guide FFA’s long-term growth. In high school, Bailey was a member of the varsity basketball and track teams. He currently attends Auburn University and is studying agricultural communications.
He is also a musician and plays in his family’s band.
"When I play, I never think about my imperfections or how big the audience is," Bailey said. "I simply love playing music and I put everything I have into each moment on stage."
He is the son of Barry and Jill Bailey.
For more information about the Alabama FFA Association, please visit www.alabamaffa.org.
Chris Kennedy is a Central District Specialist Alabama FFA Association and Education Specialist with the Alabama Department of Education.