by JESSICA ANDERSON
As the school year comes to a close, FFA members are excited as they inch closer and closer to the Florida FFA State Convention and Expo that will take place in Orlando from June 13 through the 17. For many, the convention is a time when students are awarded hard-earned plaques and recognition for a job well done. For others, it is a time when they finally get to compete in the state finals for career and leadership development events.
Polk county has several students advancing from the district level to the state finals, where they will give their all for one final shot to be crowned champion. FFA members and schools are listed below, and we will be cheering them on and eagerly awaiting results.
Opening and Closing Ceremonies– Frostproof Middle
Creed Speaking– Clayton Keene, Lake Wales
Prepared Public Speaking– McKenzie Woodruff, Dundee Ridge Middle School and Reanna Brown, Haines City High School
Extemporaneous Speaking– Elizabeth Young, McLaughlin Middle and Dustina Garcia, Haines City High School
Parliamentary Procedure– Bartow Middle School and George Jenkins High School
The State FFA Degree is the highest degree that the State FFA Association can bestow on a member. This degree is awarded annually at the State FFA Convention to those members who have met the minimum qualifications set forth by the National FFA Organization. Polk County is proud to have several students receiving this honor at the Florida FFA Convention in June. The following students will be recognized at the fifth general session on Thursday, June 16.
- Mykaela Billingsley, Auburndale
- Philip Shaske, Auburndale
- Tiffany Beam, Bartow
- Robert Belcher, Bartow
- Olivia Foreman, Bartow
- Abigail Parmer, Bartow
- Karson Russell, Bartow
- Katherine Stokes, Bartow
- Jaden Ewing, Frostproof
- Gracy Johnson, Fort Meade
- Hannah Jones, Fort Meade
- Madison Shiver, Fort Meade
- Allyson Keim, George Jenkins
- Chloe Lynn, George Jenkins
- Katelynn Monahan, George Jenkins
- Kailey Monahan, George Jenkins
- Taija Santos, George Jenkins
- Sarah Dierker, Haines City
- Alexia Trujillo, Haines City
- Ashley Kelley, Kathleen
- Kiara Kelly, Kathleen
- Donald Stubbs, Kathleen
- Sylvia Summerlin, Kathleen
- Payge Dupre, Lake Gibson
- Caleb Fletcher, Lake Gibson
- Haylee Blankenship, Lake Wales
- Keon Booker, Lake Wales
- Austin Brooks, Lake Wales
- Chloe Peterson, Lake Wales
- Corbin Sullins, Lake Wales
- Jacob Welch, Lake Wales
- Charlee Kyle, Ridge Community
To be eligible to receive the American FFA Degree from the National FFA Organization, members must meet the following minimum qualifications:
- Have received the State FFA degree, been an active member for the past three years, and have a record of satisfactory participation in the activities on the chapter and state levels.
- Have satisfactorily completed the equivalent of at least three years of secondary school instruction in an agricultural education program or to have completed at least two years of secondary school instruction in agricultural education and one full year of enrollment in a postsecondary agricultural program.
- Have graduated from high school at least 12 months prior.
- Have in operation an outstanding supervised agricultural experience.
- Must have earned at least $10,000 and productively invested at least $7500 or earned and productively invested $2000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of class time.
- Have a record of outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement and achieved a scholastic record of a “C” or higher.
- Have completed at least 50 community service hours.
We are very proud of these outstanding Polk County FFA members who will be awarded the American Degree at the National FFA Convention in October. They will also be recognized at the fifth general session at the State FFA Convention on Thursday, June 16.
- Tyler Brannan, Auburndale
- Marissa Dawes, Frostproof
- Noah Ogburn, Frostproof
- Olivia Centanni, George Jenkins
- Madyson Keim, George Jenkins
- Crystal Carlson, Kathleen
- Kaydee Clark, Kathleen
- Alburney Taylor, Kathleen
- Brooke Dykes, Lake Wales
- Briley Wetherington, Lake Wales
It is evident we have talented students and dedicated agricultural professionals within Polk County who help elevate our students to the next level of success. I am privileged to work with the Polk County FFA Federation officers year-round to help plan and facilitate a program of activities for our middle and high schools. This year’s team has worked diligently this year, and it is now time that their year of service comes to a close. After a thorough process that included an application, prepared speech, written exam, and interview, I am pleased to share with you the 2022-2023 Polk County FFA Federation Officer Team.
- President- Charleigh Wood, George Jenkins High School
- Mykaela Billingsley, Auburndale High
- Jasmyn Billano, Haines City High
- Kylee Urbina, Mulberry High
- Lindsey True, Frostproof High
- Tessa Mullis, Auburndale High
- Secretary-Hannah Clayton, George Jenkins High