Indianapolis, Ind. — Newkirk FFA members joined fellowmembers across the country at the Natgional Convention Oct. 25-29.
The group traveled from Oklahoma to Indiana and back over 1,400 miles gives our chapter and chaperones the opportunity to see a lot of sights. From Lamberts “Throwed Rolls” Restaurant, Bass Pro Shoppe, the St. Louis Arch, Uranus Fudge Shop, Bluesprings Caverns, Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis Zoo ensures not only a fun time but educational too.
Kristyn Flanery, Newkirk FFA Historian, said, “Traveling with the chapter and watching the FFA Talent performers was just a few of highlights of the five-day trip.”
Wyatt Smith, FFA Alumni and American Degree recipient, said, “The trip to the National Convention was a lot of fun. Reconnecting with old friends from my class as well as those I had met from across the state of Oklahoma during my time in FFA, who were also their receiving their American Degree was great.” Newkirk FFA has a long history of excellence in agricultural education. In 1940, Mr. Otto Leven was one of the first to receive a State FFA degree and in 1943 the first Newkirk FFA member to receive the American Degree. Fast forward 79 years, with more than 850,823 FFA members in 8,995 chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the National FFA Organization has a strong presence as the largest student-led organization in the nation.
FFA is an integral part of the Agricultural Education division in the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education system. With more than 27,500 members and 366 chapters, the Oklahoma FFA Association is the sixth-largest state FFA association.
In order to qualify for a state or national award, your chapter must complete at least 15 activities: one for each of the five quality standards in each of the three divisions. Additionally, the chapter must meet the minimum requirements as outlined in the National Quality Chapter Standards. Chapters that receive a gold rating by their state FFA associations are eligible to compete for National FFA 3-star, 2-star or 1-star ratings.
Baily Reinart, Newkirk’s agricultural instructor, has been with the district since 2016 and this is the third time Newkirk FFA has received the 3-star Chapter Award. Newkirk Chapter President Carly Ballagh and Chapter Vice President Makenna Morgan walked the stage at the Lucas Oil Stadium to accept the award. Tamika Catchings, a former WNBA player and four-time Olympian, was the motivational guest speaker at the convention this year. “Today is the best day of the rest of my life. I choose to believe, to be open to change, to lead with love, and I dare to be remarkable — I choose to be BOLD.” That is a four-letter acronym with a powerful meaning: B: Believe in your dreams. O: Be Open to change.L : Lead with love D: Dare to be remarkable. As the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association. It demonstrates the effort FFA members apply toward their supervised agricultural experience and the outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement they exhibited through their FFA career. American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence. The American FFA Degree is awarded to less than 1 percent of FFA members, making it one of the organization’s highest honors. Newkirk had eight recipients this year: Zayne Bagg, Tanner Cline, Colton Fagan, Haley Merhoff, Ethan Rhea, Wyatt Smith, Brylee Thiel and Colesen Willits.
In addition to the American Degree recipients, the Newkirk FFA members who attended National FFA Convention were Carly Ballagh, Ethan Vap, Kristyn Flanery, Hailey Morgan, Makenna Morgan, Logan Rhea, Allison Schneeberger, Logan Huster, Jacob Merhoff, Trenton Morton and Ross Kelly.