The Best of the Best Celebrated in April

by HANNAH CLAYTON, Polk County FFA Federation Officer

“Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve” — this is the FFA motto. 

Many of our members and chapters have shared their learned skills and accomplishments this month through applications submitted for Proficiency Awards, Florida’s Finest FFA Chapters, state degrees and even state officer candidate applications.

A Proficiency is a thorough report distinguishing the specialized skills, personal growth, and scope of a student’s well-developed Supervised Agricultural Experience program. Roughly 50 career fields and specialties (ranging from Ag Education/Communication to Veterinary Science Placement) are recognized through the application process, selected applicants are honored at the state and national levels. Just as many of the award applications recognized by the FFA, the process to complete and win a category is not an easy task to achieve. Many members have spent several months and even years collecting information needed to fill out the information in the applications to show in explicit detail what work is going into these projects. On April 10, it was announced that a couple of Polk County members did an amazing job and are Proficiency finalists: Jody Witter from George Jenkins High School for Nursery Operations, Clayton Keene from Lake Wales High School for Service Learning, and Haylie Stephens from Lake Gibson High School for Swine Production.

It was also announced that some of our own Polk County chapters have been selected as finalists for some of Florida FFA’s Finest chapters. Congratulations to Bok Academy, Westwood Middle and Mulberry High!

On April 16, many members throughout Polk County learned they would be receiving their state degree this summer during the Florida FFA State Convention. To earn a state degree, the member must have been an active member for at least two years before the time of receiving the degree, complete 360 hours of systematic school instruction, earned or productively invested at least $1,000 or worked 300 hours outside of school. Along with many other requirements consisting of leadership and community service.

These members consisted of:

  • Jullian Allgood, Fort Meade
  • Allison Beynon, Fort Meade
  • Jayden Bolin, Frostproof
  • Aaron Bolin, Frostproof
  • Hannah Ogburn, Frostproof
  • Lindsey True, Frostproof
  • Wilhelmina Ullrich, Frostproof
  • Victoria Cavaitio, George Jenkins
  • Ashley CLark, George Jenkins
  • Benjamen Franks, George Jenkins
  • Haylee Gawtrey, George Jenkins
  • Amelia Lynn, George Jenkins
  • Mitchell Lynn, George Jenkins
  • Ella McConchiex, George Jenkins
  • Brooklyn Mims, George Jenkins
  • Catherine Tiltion, George Jenkins
  • Jody Witter, George Jenkins
  • Evangelina Garcia, Haines City
  • Danielle Golemene, Haines City
  • Eduardo Martinez, Haines City
  • Mia McFate, Haines City
  • Grace Kelley, Kathleen
  • Rileigh Rayborn, Kathleen
  • Haleigh Rushins, Kathleen
  • Joshua Audette, Lake Gibson
  • Hunter Branch, Lake Gibson
  • Donna Carroll, Lake Gibson
  • Nala Day, Lake Gibson
  • Kinley Hardee, Lake Gibson
  • Hubble Keller, Lake Gibson
  • Brandi Moss, Lake Gibson
  • Emmalee Robertson, Lake Gibson
  • Caitynn Robertson, Lake Gibson
  • Makenna Stencel, Lake Gibson
  • Jessie Whitehead , Lake Gibson
  • Madison Young, Lake Gibson
  • Bailey Bowen, Lake Wales
  • Anna Conroy, Lake Wales
  • William Dykes, Lake Wales
  • Christian Granados, Lake Wales
  • Dustin Hill , Lake Wales
  • McKenzie Hollie, Lake Wales
  • Isabella Hough, Lake Wales
  • Bowen Keen, Lake Wales
  • Brenden Silva, Lake Wales
  • Audrey Smith , Lake Wales
  • Kelsey Wilson, Lake Wales
  • Waylon Worth, Lake Wales
  • Leyla Solis, Lakeland
  • Bliss Freeman, Mulberry
  • Jacqulyn Griceshaber, Tenoroc
  • Hayley Lamb, Tenoroc
  • Kailey Mesmer, Tenoroc
  • Khiry Baldwin, Winter Haven
  • Kylynn Story, Winter Haven
  • Claudia Stricklin, Winter Haven

As sad as it is coming to the end of the school year, it is time for new officers to fill the shoes of the officers who served this past year. Several FFA members have been preparing for months, going to trainings, interviews, and different events to help prepare for state officer screening on April 23 and 24. After all their hard work, we have two amazing members who will represent Area 4 as state officer candidates — Caitlynn Roberson from Lake Gibson High School and Nehaeh Lenton from Bartow High School.

We are proud of the many accomplishments of our amazing members. 

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