published: Sunday, July 08, 2012
County well represented at state FFA convention in Orlando
Special to the News-Sun
The 84th annual Florida FFA Convention was held June 25-29 at the Caribe Royale in Orlando. There were in excess of 80 students, advisors, guests, and dignitaries from Highlands County in attendance.
State President Charlie Brown from the Avon Park Chapter presided over not only a record-breaking convention with more than 4,300 in attendance, but Florida FFA Association set a new membership record of more than 16,300 members in 2011-12.
Numerous members placed first in their specialties including Mariah Avarez from Hill-Gustat Middle in Extemporaneous Speaking. Chase Griffin from Lake Placid Senior placed first in Agricultural Mechanics Proficiency area. Megan Stein of Sebring High School received first in Agricultural Education Proficiency Award and also was selected as the Outstanding District Officer and as the recipient of the Ryan Rimmer award for her outstanding accomplishments as District XI Secretary.
Additionally Erin Lamb of Sebring High was the high individual in Food Science Technology Career Development (CDE) event.
In the Proficiency Awards category, Jennifer Swain from Sebring High was a finalist (top four) in Swine Production and Feeder Swine categories. Stein was a finalist in Agricultural Communications and Taylor Crutchfield of Sebring High was a finalist in Equine Entrepreneurship.
Career Development finalists were Taylor Brown, Avon Park High, in Horticulture Demonstration; Garrett Barr, Avon Park Middle, in Horticulture Demonstration; Stein in Horticulture Demonstration and Prepared Public Speaking; and Savana Fisher, Sebring High, in Horticulture Demonstration. Elton Gargano form Sebring High also competed in Extemporaneous Speaking.
As winners in the district competition, both Avon Park Middle and Sebring High Parliamentary Procedure teams competed. Leighton Jahna, Alyssa Cloud, Jocelyn Jackson, Paul Devlin, Charles Southerland and Kaitlyn Whitman comprised the Avon Park team. Stein, Teresa Ware, Ashley Palmer, Tara O'Berry, Kelby Mahoney and Jessica Belcher were members of Sebring team. Avon Park also had two of its members serve on the Courtesy Corps.
The State FFA degree was awarded to: Avon Park High -- Norma Badilla, Celeste Breylinger, Brittany Gates, Mitchell Guerndt and Kyle Jahna; Lake Placid High -- Nick Swain; Sebring High -- Jayme Faircloth, Tara O'Berry and Jennifer Swain.
Three members will be receiving their American FFA degree in October at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis: Charlie Brown of Avon Park and Carlee Hill and Lauren Welborn ofSebring.
Stein was selected by the 16 Chapters in District XI to serve as 2012-13 District President. Angie Patino from Sebring High also ran for the District Secretary position filled by Brandon McKee from Okeechobee. Stein and Gargano were among 10 members recognized in the FFA Alumni Essay Contest, with Stein taking first and winning a scholarship to attend the Washington Leadership Conference.
Sebring High excelled in numerous chapter competitions including: SAE Award (submitted 10 or more proficiency applications in six different categories), National Chapter Award (among 30 Chapters recognized), fourth place in the Harvest of Change fundraiser for Florida FFA Foundation and second in Outstanding Alumni Relations.
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