Exeter FFA wins awards, sets new goals

Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Estes: ‘FFA is teaching its students how to be successful’

Exeter FFA was busy during the 2018-2019 school year with several different activities and even a few titles.

The FFA chapter participated in “Muddin’ for Members,” which is an activity in which children attempt to play things like volleyball in a muddy court to promote the Exeter FFA, but has a main goal of getting children active and engaged with one another.

Then, the program does a “Fallen Heroes Flag Placing,” where the Exeter FFA members showed their respect for those who have given their life protecting their country.

Later, the group hosted an eighth-grade recruitment where they set up activities to get middle school students interested in agriculture classes and involved in the FFA.

The “Supporters Breakfast” was a time when the Exeter FFA said thank you to the community by offering a breakfast to its supporters. This was the first year this was hosted and with a goal of 30 people to serve, which the group far exceeded. They have plans to continue in the coming years.

The Exeter FFA also participated in the “Angle Tree” project, which aims to help children receive Christmas gifts. A “Smokey the Bear Presentation” also taught children the dangers of household and forest fires.

The FFA team went to the National Convention, where members from across the country gather to reflect on accomplishments and meet new members to help build their chapter. During the National Convention, the Exeter FFA, along with other chapters, attended a speech from President Donald Trump.

Finally, the Exeter FFA chapter ranked 29th out of 336 schools in the state and are now able to compete for a national ranking. The chapters were ranked by the way they grow leaders, strengthen agriculture and build communities.

During the state convention, Mykah Estes received first place in area plaque for her fruit production, and two other Exeter FFA members Lane Willis and Lindsey Nelson were selected for the FFA choir.

Riley Still, Exeter sophomore, said the Exeter FFA got the national chapter award since they placed 29th in the state. It is called the “Gold Emblem Chapter.”

“That is a first for us,” she said. “And now, we get to compete in nationals.”

Still said what gets them there is the program of activities which is about 30 pages of descriptions of all the things the group does throughout the year.

“The whole chapter, freshman through seniors, won this title,” she said. “But, the officer team of nine members actually put together the program of activities.”

Mykah Estes, Exeter junior, said hopefully this will promote the Exeter FFA chapter.

“Our little chapter can do all of this and succeed even though we are smaller than most,” she said. “Our entire chapter is 36 students.

“I placed first in my fruit production in my area. I learned it all from working on my great grandparents’ farm. They have apple trees, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries.”

Estes said the next year, it will be easier because now the group has a format on how to do what they need.

“We owe so much to our new advisor Rachael Brown,” Still said. “She has put in a lot of hours for us, and we have never had that kind of support before.”

Still said this is the first year she has taught Exeter agriculture, but she has seven years of experience.

Estes said the work she puts into it is worth it when she sees that her product is amazing.

Estes said the success really goes to show how much the FFA does for the country, production wise.

“FFA is teaching its students how to be successful and work for what they need,” she said. “It so much more hands-on than people think, and by succeeding in this it can help show other students what they could do.”

Lane Willis and Lindsey Nelson were accepted on the state choir for FFA.

“This was the first time for the Exeter FFA chapter to have students go to state choir,” Exeter junior Lindsey Nelson said. “On top of that, I was able to get a solo and sing in front of 9,000 people.”

Nelson said there were about 150 people in the FFA state choir.

Lane Willis, Exeter sophomore, said this is a huge accomplishment for them.

“No one from Exeter has ever been in the state choir,” Willis said.

Nelson said this was all possible because of their advisor.

“A big thanks to Rachael Brown,” Nelson said. “She is so supportive of us and we couldn’t have done it without her.”

Nelson said Exeter is viewed as such a small school, and she is proud to be able to show what it can do.

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