Delaney Jones, ag teacher Maverick Liles and Devan Foster have gotten some positive things going for Allen East FFA.

From greenhand to graduate: Allen East FFA senior reflections

By Morgan Anderson, OCJ FFA reporter

For over 29,000 Ohio FFA members, the end of each school year signifies a time of celebration, whether at the Ohio FFA Convention in Columbus or their local chapter banquet. But for senior members who are graduating, this celebration is particularly bittersweet, as it marks the end of their high school FFA career.

“One of the most important lessons I have learned is how crucial hard work is when it comes to taking your experience to the next level,” said Devan Foster, a graduating senior. “Through my time in the FFA, I have devoted my time, my energy, and certainly, my heart, to our chapter and the program itself.”

Both Foster and Delaney Jones, two class of 2024 graduating seniors from the Allen East FFA Chapter, said their time in the blue jacket has been instrumental in their development as young people.

“I have learned to not be scared to try a new challenge,” Jones said. “Even though it may be scary, you can do it. Life is too short to regret it later. It is better to try it and fail than to live with constant regret.”

Through the lessons they have learned along the way, both Foster and Jones have penned an impressive résumé through FFA. The pair has accomplished everything from being state finalists in proficiency awards to serving on their chapter officer team for multiple years. However, little did Foster and Jones know that their hard work was creating a tradition of success.

“My FFA career started during my freshman year. My school hadn’t had an FFA chapter in decades and at this time in my life, I had no idea what FFA even was,” Foster said. “I remember the first day of freshman year in Mr. Liles’ class. I was so confused but also so eager to learn more about this FFA program that the community was so excited to be back in the school again.”

Both Foster and Jones began their FFA journey in the fall of 2020, which was the first year the chapter started its programming since it was disbanded in 1965 due to the consolidation of local schools.

“It had always been a dream of mine to be in FFA because I would hear about all of the fun stories that kids from other schools had,” Jones said. “However, my school didn’t have FFA so I thought this would be an experience that I would miss out on. That was until in the 8th grade, they announced that we would have an FFA program the following year. I was so excited because I would finally get to use my agriculture passions in the classroom and better share my experiences. When class registration came around that year, I did not hesitate to sign up for FFA.”

What started as confusion and dreams has since turned into countless memories, lessons, and awards.

Since her freshman year, Foster has invested thousands of dollars in grant money and countless hours into her Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) named, “Growing Gardens Growing Minds.” Whether through a greenhouse, hydroponic growing towers, or a demonstration table, Foster said she would work with primary and elementary-age students to teach them where their food comes from and how they can be a part of the process, too. Foster said her creativity in implementing agricultural education in her school district, no matter the age, has strengthened her passion for teaching.

“I began working with elementary students almost every day during my normal high school day,” Foster said. “I learned just how much I adored working with kids, getting them excited to learn, and teaching them about the expanding world of agriculture. I am now enrolled in college to become an elementary teacher, and I am beyond excited about this calling I have discovered through the FFA.”

Foster plans to attend The Ohio State University to study early childhood education in the fall.

Wanting to get involved immediately in all things FFA was the goal, said Jones. Participating in the Job Interview, Soil Judging, Floriculture, Livestock Judging, Food Science, and Agricultural Sales competitions comprised a large component of her time in FFA.

“My favorite Career Development Event (CDE) is Agricultural Sales,” Jones said. “This contest has taught me how to work well with others and use good communication skills.”

The skills Jones learned are what she said will help her pursue a major in nursing at James A. Rhodes State College with the goal of becoming a pediatric nurse.

Although the dynamic duo has their eyes set on the future, they said they have plenty of memories they fondly think of and even laugh about.

“One memory that specifically sticks out to me is when our ag teacher, Mr. Liles, made our Food Science CDE team wear our official dress to the contest, just to show up and realize everyone else was in normal clothes,” Foster said.

When asked about what they will miss most from their time in the blue jacket, Foster and Jones were clear that it was the people.

“It’s about the relationships that it has allowed me to build,” Jones said. “The best example of this is my friendship with Devan. Devan and I have been friends since kindergarten, but high school is when it really flourished and I have the FFA to thank for that. She has been my partner in crime for every FFA event and is always down for my crazy ideas. Being on the officer team with her for the past 3 years has allowed us to learn a lot about each other and continue to grow our relationship. Outside of the fun stuff, she has helped me through some of the struggles that I have faced and has always been my biggest cheerleader in all of my accomplishments. As our time in FFA ends, I hope our friendship sticks around forever. I thank this organization every day for giving me my best friend.”

Both Foster and Jones plan to work toward their American FFA Degree, which is the highest degree the National FFA Organization has to offer, as well as submitting their proficiency projects for awards one last time.

“Without a doubt, what I will miss most about FFA is the family I have built through the program,” Foster said. “I look forward to school every day because of FFA. I spend most of my day in the ag room with Mr. Liles and my friends who are working towards bettering themselves through our chapter. Along with the family I have built at my school, I have built a family with members and FFA leaders around the country.”

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One comment

  1. Their bright smiles are happiness because they have achieved the results they worked hard for.

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