FFA Advances to Nationals

FFA Advances to Nationals
Posted on 06/27/2019
THS FFA Advances to Nationals
THS FFA Advances to Nationals
A record crowd of more than 1,500 attended the 93rd Virginia FFA State 
Convention on the Virginia Tech campus, June 17-20, 2019. Chapter members Jacob Bowden, Megan Pollok, and Casey Toney along with chapter advisor, Dr. Jessica M. Jones of Tunstall High FFA attended.

The convention featured five general sessions full of award presentations, motivational speakers, FFA talent, and delegate business. The Convention kickoff speaker was Dr. Michael Evans, Director for the Virginia Tech College of Agriculture’s new School of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Evans, a Pittsylvania County native and former FFA member, encouraged FFA students to “let your life experiences help shape your future.” Other speakers on the Convention docket included National FFA Southern Region Vice President, Jordan Stowe, Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Commissioner, Dr. Jewel H. Bronaugh, National FFA Advisor, Dr. Steve Brown, and the Virginia FFA 2018-2019 State Officer Team. In addition to the award sessions, the convention featured state officer candidate interviews, convention workshops, state-level career and leadership development events, and Agriscience Fair competitions. Moreover, Virginia FFA celebrated 50 years of women in the organization. Keynote speaker, Dave Shiflett, current August County school board member who served as the Virginia FFA state president and delegate to the national convention in 1969 cast the deciding vote to support admitting women into FFA membership. Shiflett shared his experiences during this monumental time in FFA history, along with how Virginia’s decision gave National FFA’s constitutional amendment the two-thirds support it needed for women to gain full membership.

Chapter member, Casey Toney, chapter secretary Jacob Bowden, and chapter president, Megan Pollok served as Tunstall High FFA convention delegates. Toney, Bowden and Pollok provided input and voted on the Audit, Budget and Dues; Program of Activities; and Constitution and Bylaws proposed changes.

Megan Pollok was recognized during the convention’s first general session on June 17 for the 
state Senior Horticulture Demonstration Career Development Event. The event was held at the Virginia State Fair on October 3 where Pollok placed third overall.

The Tunstall High FFA Farm and Agribusiness Management team of Jacob Bowden, Megan 
Pollok and Casey Toney placed seventh in the state career development event. The event was held on Virginia Tech’s campus at Litton Reaves on June 18. The Farm and Agribusiness Management Career Development Event develops the abilities to apply the economic principles and concepts used in analyzing farm-ranch business management decisions. Bowden placed 27th, Toney placed 26th, and Pollok placed 11th overall in the contest.

Jacob Bowden competed in the Computer Applications state career development event. The event was held on Virginia Tech’s campus at Litton Reaves on June 18. The Computer Applications Career Development Event is designed for FFA members to develop, practice, and demonstrate skills needed for basic word processing, spreadsheet, and database in the agricultural industry. Each part of the event represents real world processes needed in any type of job. Bowden placed as the third high individual overall. Bowden also was the recipient of the Virginia Tech Collegiate FFA Jacket Scholarship. The Collegiate FFA Chapter at Virginia Tech awarded only four FFA Jacket Scholarships, including the Halifax County FFA, Liberty FFA, and Smith Mountain FFA chapters. The scholarship selection committee commented, “It was a privilege to hear about how FFA has impacted your [Bowden’s] life, and Virginia Tech Collegiate FFA is excited to see what opportunities lie ahead for you.” Bowden was presented his FFA jacket during the first general pre-session.

The Turf Management and Youth Discussion Meet were two new events held at state convention this year. The Turf Management Career Development Event provides competition that fosters on-the spot thinking, working as a team to accomplish one goal, and problem-solving skills necessary for turf grass managers. The skills learned in this event can be used to be successful as a Golf Course Superintendent, Sports Turf Manager, Lawn Care Provider, and much more. The event was held on Virginia Tech’s campus at Lane Stadium, Rector Field House and the Johnson-Miller Track Complex and on June 18. The Tunstall High FFA Turf Management team of Jacob Bowden, Megan Pollok and Casey Toney placed second overall in the state career development event. Individually, Bowden placed 5th, Toney placed 4th, and Pollok placed 2nd overall in the contest.

The Youth Discussion Meet Leadership Development Event is designed to simulate a committee meeting where discussion and active participation are expected from each participant. This competition is evaluated on an exchange of ideas and information on a pre-determined topic. The judges are looking for the contestant that offers constructive criticism, cooperation, and communication while analyzing agricultural problems and developing solutions. These questions discussed during the Youth Discussion Meet competition, sponsored by the Virginia Farm Bureau Young Farmers, at the 2019 Virginia FFA Convention were:

1. It is predicted that over the next five years 60,000 high-skilled agriculture related jobs will be open annually across the United States. However, only approximately 35,000 will be filled with graduates equipped with agriculture-related degrees or certificates. Discuss what obstacles are preventing students from pursuing these opportunities. What programs encourage young people to pursue a degree, certificate or career in agriculture?

2. Agriculture is continually under fire because of both real and perceived issues with environmental impact, animal welfare and human health effects. Discuss existing methods and new production ideas and the impacts they have on the environment and human and animal health. What can a 4-H/FFA member do now and in the future to be a good steward of resources and advocate for agriculture?

Megan Pollok competed and advanced to the Final Four round on June 19 with chapter 
members from Fort Chiswell High FFA, Page County High FFA, and James Wood High FFA.

Pollok placed first overall in the Youth Discussion Meet competition.

Pollok also competed in the Employment Skills Leadership Development Event. The event was 
held on Virginia Tech’s campus at Litton Reaves on June 18 and June 19. Formerly known as Job Interview, the Employment Skills Leadership Development Event is designed for FFA members to develop, practice and demonstrate skills needed for seeking employment in the industry of agriculture. Each part of the event simulates, as closely as possible, real-world activities that are used by real-world employers. In the competition preliminary round, participants are randomly placed in interview flights. The top ten qualifiers from the preliminary round advance to the final round, which includes a networking activity and a personal interview.

Scores from the preliminary round do not carry over to the final round.

Pollok placed first in the state event and advances to national competition held in conjunction 
with the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana, in October.

Virginia Neal of the Tunstall High FFA Chapter was awarded the State FFA Degree by the Virginia FFA Association on June 19, 2019. The award was given during a ceremony held as part of the 93rd Virginia FFA State Convention. The Virginia State FFA Officer Team congratulated the nearly 200 Virginia state degree recipients.

In order to receive this degree, the student must meet stringent requirements. The student must first have obtained the Greenhand and Chapter FFA Degrees. They must have completed two years of high school study in agricultural education and maintained membership in the FFA organization during that time. The student must have a supervised agricultural experience project in place and must have earned and productively invested at least $1,000, or worked at least 300 hours in excess of scheduled class time.

In addition to these requirements, the student must have also demonstrated their leadership ability by performing 10 parliamentary abilities, giving a six-minute speech on a topic related to agriculture or the FFA, serving as an officer, committee chairperson, or a participating member of a chapter committee and must have participated in at least five different FFA activities above the chapter level.
Moreover, recipients of the National Chapter Award were announced at the 93rd Virginia FFA State Convention. The National Chapter Award recognizes FFA chapters who exemplify chapter excellence by creating a balanced Program of Activities and provide opportunities for members to grow as individuals. The Tunstall High FFA chapter was recognized as a National FFA  Chapter Award winner during the 93rd Virginia FFA State Convention. The chapter was recognized as a Superior Chapter receiving a Gold rating and is ranked as one of the Top 10 chapters in the Commonwealth. The National Chapter Award program recognizes outstanding
FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality FFA Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasizes growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership.

The National FFA Organization is a national youthorganization of 653,359 student members as

part of 8,568 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Virginia FFA Association is composed of nearly 9,000 FFA members from 197 active chapters.

The organization is supported by 344,239 alumni members in 2,051 local FFA Alumni chapters throughout the U.S. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The National FFA Organization operates under a federal charter granted by the 81st United States Congress and it is an integral part of public instruction in agriculture.
The U.S. Department of Education provides leadership and helps set direction for FFA as a service to state and local agricultural education programs. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook, Twitter and the official National FFA Organization blog.