The Miami Trace Great Oaks FFA held its annual banquet April 23rd at the Miami Trace High School. Although parts of the banquet were altered due to Covid-19, the chapter officers and advisors were able to make it run smoothly. The chapter recognized members, advisors, parents and other community members who made positive contributions to the chapter. Many members were recognized for having numerous achievements throughout the year. The senior FFA members received over $15,000 in scholarships during the event.
Sophomore member Jacob Cline began the program by singing the national anthem, junior member Emily Moser introduced the meal and led the over 200 guests in prayer.
After the conclusion of the meal, retiring president Graham Carson welcomed everyone and was followed by junior member Kennedy Worley with the introduction of special guests. There were over 200 people in attendance and the meal was catered by The Crown Room of Washington Court House.
Numerous scholarships were presented to senior FFA members. Miami Trace FFA Alumni treasurer Robin Beekman, presented the FFA Alumni scholarships to Brian Everhart, Haylee Anders, Hayden Crocker, Taylor Moore, Addy Little, Kamdon Satterfield, Derek Mitchem, and Brandon Fenner. Graham Carson received the Cummings Scholarship. The Wendt Group Scholarship was awarded to Gracee Stewart and Lahni Stachler. Kyler Batson received the Steven Bennett Scholarship. Mcale Callahan was the recipient of the Mark Garland and Evans family scholarship . The recipient of the Justin Stuckey Scholarship was Kyler Adkins and Gracee Stewart.
The Miami Trace FFA officer team continuously works very hard to continue success within their chapter. Miami Trace High School Assistant Principal Ryan Davis presented the retiring officer awards to the 2020-2021 officer team. Those receiving the plaques were: building communities Kelsey Pettit, growing leaders Caleb Bennett, strengthening agriculture Drew Black, student advisor Bryce Bennett, sentinel Dylan Farley, reporters Emily Moser and Kennedy Worley, treasurers Blayne Ferguson and Weston Pettit, secretary Hidy Kirkpatrick, vice president Lahni Stachler, and president Graham Carson.
The highest honor an FFA chapter can bestow on any individual is the honorary chapter degree. This year, the chapter honored two individuals, Julie Reisinger and Matt Barga. Julie and Matt are the current Miami Trace High School Guidance Counselors. The chapter is very thankful for the support and help they received from the two members throughout the troubled year.
There were 61 recipients of the greenhand degree. To receive the honor students must complete public speeches, community service, and recite the FFA creed. The next degree members are able to earn is the chapter degree. This year there were 55 members that continued their enrollment in Agricultural Education and received their Chapter Degree. Those members received the highest degree a chapter can bestow upon its members.
This year 14 members received their State FFA Degrees. This honor is awarded by the Ohio FFA Association. These students received the gold charm of the State FFA Degree after the virtual recognition the following week. This is the highest degree that the National FFA can bestow upon its members. The members that received their State FFA Degrees were Libby Aleshire, Blayne Ferguson, Luke Anders, Alexis Hagler, Bryce Bennett, Madison Johnson, Drew Black, Wyatt Mayer, Connor Collins, Taylor Moore, Tyler Cummings, Weston Pettit, Cole Enochs, and Emily Taylor. The Miami Trace FFA Chapter also has 7 members receiving their American FFA Degree in the fall of 2021. Those members are Grant DeBruin, Morgan Eggleton, Aubrey McCoy, Anita Pursell, Aubrey Schwartz, Matthew Warner, and Victoria Waits. The chapter is extremely proud of their members and the accomplishments they have made.
Chapter Secretary, Hidy Kirkpatrick, presented the special FFA foundation awards. These awards included the top fruit and strawberry salesmen. This year the chapter fruit sale brought in over $78,000, and the strawberry sale brought in more than $17,000. Both of these sales help fund many chapter activities. The top 10 fruit salesmen were Bryce/Caleb Bennett ($4,418), Kelsey Pettit ($3,514), Natalie Lindsey ($2,628), Gracee/Jessee Stewart ($2,612), Connor Collins ($2,558), Charles Sever ($2,521), Weston Pettit ($2,432), Graham Carson ($2,004), Tyler Cummings ($1,902) and Kennedy Worley ($1,727). The top five strawberry salesmen were Taylor Moore ($957), Connor Collins ($951), Kelsey Pettit ($720), Libby Johnson ($609) and Colin/Nick Farrens ($553).
Proficiency awards are awarded to students who excel in the development of their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project. In the area of Organic Agriculture, Grant DeBruin focused on entering hours, involvement, and activities into his AET online record keeping system for his work on the family organic dairy operation. Grant began recording his unpaid hours on the family farm as a freshman. Later, he became a paid employee where he increased his responsibilities and time commitment.
In the area of Goat Production, Connor Collins owns and operates C Squared Boer Goats. He started out with only two head of goats, and has now expanded to 6 head of breeding does. He has successfully raised 15 head of market goats for show at the local county fairs. Connor received 2nd place in the district.
In the proficiency area of Agricultural Services, Tyler Cummings’ SAE consists of working for the Wendt Group where he has logged 335 hours assisting with the preparation, sale and dispersal of agriculture auctions. Tyler spends his time prepping equipment and assisting buyers with loading auction items.
In the area of Poultry Production, Bryce Bennett started out raising chickens
and turkeys for exhibition at the county fair. From there, he has grown his operation to include commercial broilers and holiday turkeys raised for private customers and for retail sale at Jones Farmers Market. In 2020, Bryce produced 360 head of market chickens and 130 head of turkeys.
Lahni Stachler competed in the Agricultural Education proficiency area. Lahni logged her time planning and presenting agricultural topics to other students and at various public forums. Her 260 hours of SAE records include teaching the AFNR Self-Contained class here at the high school for one class period every day of the week this entire school year, planning and preparing for a community ag safety day, and preparing and presenting agriculture lessons to youth in the community.
In the area of Ag Processing, Blayne Ferguson has spent many hours working for DB Yummers where he assists in the production, bottling and distribution of barbeque sauce. Through his involvement in this SAE, Blayne has expanded his knowledge in food science, food safety procedures as well as marketing and sales.
Derek Mitchem’s SAE consists of raising and breeding market pigs. In the area of Swine Production, Derek started by retaining 1 replacement gilt and has grown his operation quite a bit over the past 4 years. In 2020, Derek raised and marketed over 90 head of market pigs and currently has 13 breeding sows. Derek plans to continue his operation after he graduates.
In the area of Ag Services, Aubrey Schwartz utilized her leadership, communication, and organizational skills to provide bookkeeping services to her father’s standardbred horse operation. Aubrey keeps financial records on each horse and manages the billing for the business. Aubrey was a finalist in the State last year and placed 1st in the District this year.
Leadership Awards are based on the FFA Leadership Profile Assessment. Members receive points for their various activities, participation, along with chapter activities. The freshman leadership award recipients received garment bags. Those recipients were: Ethan Bower, Libby Johnson, Jessee Stewart, Mackenzie Cory, Aiden Knecht, Sarah Warner, Nick Farrens, Shelby Mayer, Jonah Goddard, and Drake Sharp. The sophomore leadership award recipients received personalized cups. These awards were presented to Caleb Bennett, Jenna Goddard, Kelsey Pettit, Averey Cockerill, Natalie Lindsey, Mara Simonson, Austin Etzler, Mallory Lovett, Charles Sever, Gracey Ferguson, and Eli Miller. Junior leadership awards received personalized fleece pullovers. These recipients were: Bryce Bennett, Lexi Hagler, Emily Taylor, Drew Black, Madison Johnson, Kennedy Worley, Connor Collins, Hidy Kirkpatrick, Blayne Ferguson, and Weston Pettit. Senior leadership award recipients received fleece blankets. These recipients were: Wyatt Atley, Colin Farrens, Gracee Stewart, Reagan Barton, Derek Mitchem, Matthew Webb, Kyler Batson, Taylor Moore, Lydia Zwoll, Graham Carson, and Lahni Stachler.
Every year freshman members are bestowed with the title of Star Greenhand. These members are the most involved in leadership and chapter activities throughout the year in the freshmen class. This year the Star Greenhand was Mckenzie Cory. Also, one senior member was awarded the title of Star Farmer. The Star Farmer for 2021 was Graham Carson. The chapter also rewards a member as the Star Chapter Agribusiness member. This is based on how many points the member has earned over their four years in the MT FFA chapter. This year the winner was Lahni Stachler.
The banquet would not be complete without the announcement of the newly elected 2019-2020 FFA officers. The new officer team consists of president – Bryce Bennett, vice president – Blayne Ferguson, secretary – Hidy Kirkpatrick, treasurers – Drew Black and Caleb Bennett, reporter – Kelsey Pettit , publicity reporter – Kennedy Worley, student advisor – Weston Pettit, sentinel – Emily Moser , growing leaders – Mara Simonson, building communities – Emily Taylor, strengthening ag – Dylan Farley, and Farm Manager- Weston Melvin.