By Lynne Phillips
New London FFA members, parents and friends gathered for the annual banquet to celebrate a years worth of achievements on Friday evening at New London High School.
“It is amazing how much has happened over the course of just one year,” said FFA advisor Megan Riley. “There have been some up and downs and some amazing moments.”
Riley said one of those “moments” came at this year’s officer retreat. “I will admit this was probably not one of my better moments. On the second of our three day retreat my seven officers were clicky, segregated and not working as a team. It was at that moment I began to doubt myself. I knew I had some large shoes to fill from all of the teachers that had preceded me. I did not know if I could do the students, community and parents justice. In that moment I decided to do what any sane adult would, take a walk just to get away from these kids. Just as I began a peaceful, kid free walk in the woods it began to storm. Not just a light rain but a lightening and thunder storm. I knew all the kids were safe in the cabin so I weighed the pros and cons of the situation. Pros-No kids, con-rainstorm. I kept walking in the storm.” Continuing her walk, she said, I called my husband and cried to him, talked to my daughter who I missed and after reassuring words of my level headed husband and the innocence of my child I began to feel better. I knew I could handle this year.” Completing her walk she returned to the cabin full of kids and found that in her absence the one thing she had been trying to accomplish the entire weekend had happened. “It unified the officer team. They were so concerned for my safety in the storm they were working together and communicating.
“I tell this story because I could not have known how those 20 minutes could symbolize the entire year. At times our officers will bicker and quibble but I learned in those 20 minutes I have the best group of FFA officers anyone could ask for. This is why this chapter is able to accomplish so much personally, in the school and community.”
The New London FFA chapter has added a new award. “It is so new,” said Riley, “that it hasn’t even been made yet.”
Because of their involvement in activities beyond FFA, members earn patches and letters for their varsity jackets. “This group realized one of the organizations they dedicate much of their time to was not represented on their jackets,” Riley explained.”It was with this realization they formed a committee, outlined criteria and proposed to school officials they should be able to ‘letter’ in FFA through their involvement. After a few months of research and refinement the FFA patch was approved by the administration and is being designed now.”
Those receiving the new award included Alexis Hinckley, Chelsie Lyons and Kay Swisher.
During this years State FFA Convention Alexis Hinckley will receive the State FFA Degree.
“The state degree is the highest a high school member can receive and is given to only the top two percent of all Ohio FFA members,” stated Riley.
“This past year at the National FFA Convention Tiffany Szabo and Amanda Szabo received the American FFA Degree. The American Degree is the highest degree an FFA member can receive and is given to only the top two percent of all FFA members.”
The 110 Percent Award is given to individuals within the chapter who have demonstrated leadership qualities, excelled within their Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) programs and who have had exceptional attendance at the numerous chapter activities and fund-raisers throughout the year. The five level award is based on a point system and completion of an application.
Receiving FFA lanyards were: Michael Albrecht, Kotiana Barber, Christian Burt, Colton Lay, John Moesher, Mitchell Phillips, Jacob Reep and Zach Wilson.
FFA water bottles were received by: Dylan Bess, Kaitlyn Case, Lindsey Crawford, Melvin Deppen, Grant Gregory and Cassidy Lay.
FFA T-shirts were received by Emily Dalton, Arryk Davidson, Mandy Delambo, Bristin Hicks, Hope McCoy, Seth Rowland and Amanda Shaw.
FFA hoodies were received by Tate Given, Allison Hammann, Tyler Nickoli and Austyn Stephens.
FFA duffels and toiletry bags were received by Tyler Fridenstine, Braelyn Hicks, Alexis Hinckley, Chelsie Lyons and Kay Swisher.
This years recipient of the Star Greenhand Award was Tyler Nickoli.
The Star Chapter Award recipient was Tyler Fridenstine.
The Star Junior Award was received by Alexis Hinckley.
The prestigious Dekalb Award was received by Austyn Stephens.
The 110 Percent Award was received by Alexis Hinckley.
The Outstanding FFA member award was received by Chelsie Lyons.
Senior FFA members were recognized with a special slide show. Seniors included Tate Given, Austin Bynum, Nate Thomas, Colton Lay, John Moesher, Kaitlyn Case, Austyn Stephens and Zach Wilson.
The 2016-2017 officer team of reporter Kay Swisher, treasurer Bristin Hicks, secretary Braelyn Hicks, vice president Chelsie Lyons and president Alexis Hinckley were introduced.
This year’s Honorary Community FFA Degree was given to New London Lanes.
The Honorary FFA Degree was given to Mike and Shelli Fridenstine and Bob Stone received a Distinguished Service Award from the New London FFA Alumni.
FFA Alumni President Davina Carroll noted Missy Klingman, past alumni president, served in the position for many years and said the alumni group benefited from all of her hard work.
The following were acknowledged for their work in:
• Animal Management and Ag Mechanics Diagnostics: Alexis Hinckley, Chelsie Lyons, Kay Swisher, Tate Given, Austyn Stephens, Tyler Fridenstine, Melvin Deppen and Tyler Nickoli.
• High Fruit Sales Awards: First place, Tyler Fridenstine; second, Alexis Hinckley; third Grant Gregory; fourth Arryk Davidson; fifth, James Sword.
• High Strawberry Sales Awards: first, Alexis Hinckley; second Tyler Fridenstine; third, Emily Dalton; fourth, Amanda Shaw; fifth, Kaya Swisher.
• Discovery Degrees: Brittany Nebergall, James Sword, Trent Yates, Emily Durfey, Kaycee Sanford, Ethan Swafford, Hannah Wallen and Jaden Keys.
• Greenhand Degrees: Dylan Hess, Austin Bynum, Josh Couch, Arryk Davidson, Melvin Deppen, Caleb Gill, Tate Given, Patrick Hamilton, Allison Hammann, Bristin Hicks, Tyler Nickoli, Jacob Reep, Seth Rowland and Amanda Shaw.
• Chapter Degrees: Braelyn Hicks, Mandy DeLambo, Tyler Fridenstine, Hope McCoy, Lindsey Crawford and Emily Dalton.
• Members of the Month: Chelsie Lyons, Tate Given, Allison Hammann, Arryk Davidson, Alexis Hinckley, Tyler Fridenstine, Dylan Bess, Josh Couch, Austyn Stephens, Melvin Deppen, Kotiana Barber, Abigail Marret, Trent Yates, Kaya Swisher, Braelyn Hicks and Tyler Nickoli.
Participating in Career Development Events were:
• Soil Judging Bristin Hicks, Allison Hammann, Mitchell Phillips and Melvin Deppen.
• Public Speaking- Alexis Hinckley, Allison Hammann and Chelsie Lyons.
• Job Interview-Alexis Hinckley and Braelyn Hicks.
• ATI Invitational General Livestock Judging- Kaya Swisher, Alexis Hinckley, Tyler Nickoli, Kotiana Barber, Abigail Marret and Trent Yates.
• Ashland Invitational General Livestock Judging- Kaya Swisher, Tate Given, Abigail Marret.
• State Spring CDEs- Chelsie Lyons, Hope McCoy, Mandy DeLambo, Alexis Hinckley, Kaya Swisher, Tate Given and Abigail Marret.
• Farm Management-Melvin Deppen, Kaya Swisher, Alexis Hinckley, Chelsie Lyons and Tyler Fridenstine.
FFA members shared highlights of their trip to the National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky last October and what is to be expected during this years State Convention.