by JASMYN BILLANO, Polk County FFA Federation President
School bells are ringing, and fall is in the air! Polk County FFA has been delighted to have their members return to school after a long summer break. Although the year has just started, our FFA members have already leaped into action.
Many have hosted their first meetings, first practices, and have attended their first competition of the year! Polk County was well represented at August’s Polk County Farm Bureau Speech Contest as our FFA Federation members Clayton Keene, Jasmyn Billano, and Charleigh Wood respectively placed first, second, and third in the high school division. As for middle school, Mattie Fountain placed first and Mason Scholeske placed second. We are so proud of all those who competed for their hard work and evident passion for Florida agriculture! We would like to wish Clayton of Lake Wales FFA the best of luck as he advances to the next round!
On Sept. 26, we saw our first Polk County FFA event of the year! Polk County FFA showed up and showed out at the recent Opening and Closings Ceremony competition. Participating members showcased their ability to properly open and close a meeting. Our congratulations go to first-place winners George Jenkins Senior and Lakeland Christian Middle. It is always amazing to see our members’ hard work coming to fruition! Also occurring at the county competition was the announcement of this year’s Make a Difference Award. The Polk County FFA Federation team works every year to design the project, inspiring our chapters to become active members in their community. This year, members are encouraged to collect a variety of personal care items and write heartfelt notes. The items will be put together as donations for HEARTH, an organization that helps the homeless families and children of our county. The chapter that collects the most items will be awarded at our county banquet next May. Also announced was this year’s Friendsgiving event, which will take place Nov. 7 at 5 p.m. at Bonnet Springs Park. Chapters are encouraged to bring dessert items and participate in a kickball game. This event is a great opportunity to connect with the community and get to know your fellow FFA members. We hope to see all of our chapters in attendance!
Finally, many of our members have been reflecting on their roles as leaders, as well as working toward self-development as they attend workshops at events such as the Chapter Officer Leadership Training, or COLT. Members from all over the state have been attending the event, and many of our chapters attended during the first week of October. Participants can look forward to a fun agenda curated by our very own Florida FFA State Officer Team. The beginning of the school year is always a busy time of year, but we are glad to see that our FFA members have truly given us an amazing start!
Written by: Jasmyn Billano, Polk County FFA Federation President