From School Reports
Four members of the Webster County Career and Technology FFA Chapter attended the 87th National FFA Convention and Expo in Louisville, Kentucky, from Oct 27-Nov. 1.
Colton Harrison, Tyler Ray, Blake Whitehurst and Levi Womack, as well as over 60,000 other FFA students across the United States, participated in events that support the FFA mission, which is “to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success though agricultural education.”
This youth organization has 610,240 student members from 7,665 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The WCCTC four-member team, one of 42 teams, won the Bronze emblem and a Lincoln welder in the National FFA Agricultural Technology and Mechanical Systems Career Development Event sponsored by Firestone Farm Tires and Caterpillar Inc. Only teams who have won the FFA state CDE compete in the national CDE.
The CDE is a competitive event that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Activities in the two-day competition include (1.) a written exam completed by each individual team member; (2.) a team event, (3.) demonstration of problem-solving skills and (4.) hands-on performance activities.
Each activity had a time limit. Because teams are not given specific scenarios until minutes before the activity, each team must be knowledgeable in the areas of environmental and natural resource systems, machinery and equipment system, structural systems, energy systems and electrical systems.
The WCCTC team received scenarios involving building an irrigation system, adjusting John Deere planters, troubleshooting a problem with a diesel engine, and welding. After the competition, students typed a two-page report describing each team member’s contribution to the team event.
Each member was also one of 154 students who participated for individual awards. Ray and Womack each won a Silver emblem while Harrison and Whitehurst each won a Bronze emblem. Students accepted their awards at a breakfast where speakers from Firestone Farm Tires and Caterpillar were featured.
All four team members are students at East Webster High School. Womack is a junior and is completing his second year at WCCTC in the Agricultural Power and Machinery program. Ray, Harrison and Whitehurst are seniors who are two-year completers in the Ag program. Harrison is currently enrolled in the Forestry program at WCCTC.
Paul Orr, Agricultural Power and Technology instructor at WCCTC, and Buck Meek, Forest Harvesting and Production Technology instructor, are FFA advisers.
Agriculture is the largest employer in the United States as well as in Mississippi. More than 23 million jobs are involved in the agricultural industry; therefore, agricultural education is imperative to prepare students to be successful in these careers to make “informed choices in the global agriculture, food, fiber and natural resources system.”
The FFA student organization supports its members by strengthening their confidence in themselves and their work, by building character and promoting citizenship, volunteerism and patriotism, by promoting cooperative attitudes among all peoples, and by encouraging excellence in scholarships.
These businesses and individuals, as well as others, contributed financial support to the team: Taylor Machine Works Inc.; Mississippi FFA Foundation: Southern Ag Consulting Inc.; Ag Shelter Insurance Services LLC; Parish Insurance and Financial Services; Josh Palmer/Greer Laboratories; Boatman Trucking; Plymouth Tube Co.; Southwire; Oswalt Building Materials; Flora Logging; Palmer’s Service Center; Rodgers Farms; Tabb Farms; Joe and Angela Hays.
Jeffery Tabb, Jimmy Crick and a representative from the East Mississippi Community College welding program provided technical support to the team.