COVINGTON — The Covington-UVCC FFA recently won the Model of Excellence award at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, which took place in Indianapolis, Ind.
The Model of Excellence program recognizes FFA chapters that strive to uphold the mission of the organization to the highest degree.
High school chapters from around the country that received high three-star ratings during judging in the summer are eligible to compete for the award, which is the highest honor awarded to a high school FFA chapter by the National FFA Organization. Applicants were narrowed down to just 10 chapters competing for the overall title at this year’s convention.
According to Covington-UVCC FFA chapter advisor Jessica Helsinger, there are several additional requirements that must be met in order to apply, including that each chapter officer must have received an honorable mention, or higher, on their “books,” for which each officer is responsible. For example, Helsinger said, the treasurer book-keeps financial records and the reporter completed a scrapbook.
“The chapter must also show that they’ve done 15 activities — one for each of the quality standards that National FFA puts out,” Helsinger said. “They choose nine of those activities — three in each area — to basically give a full report on. The three divisions that they plan activities within are ‘Building Communities,’ ‘Growing Leaders,’ and ‘Strengthening Agriculture.’”
Helsinger said the report includes things like why each activity was carried out, three goals for the activity, a plan of action for those goals, evaluation of each goal, who the activity benefitted, and who it impacted.
The Covington-UVCC FFA identified a need to lower stress in their student body, promote production agriculture, and improve the future lives of students. They then organized a variety of activities around this need, including what they called the “De-Stressalizer” program.
This program offered four events — including tai chi and a movie night — throughout the 2018-2019 school year that allowed students to unwind. The chapter also threw a “Harvest Day,” which included activities centered around harvesting and plant germination, as well as kiddie tractor races. The chapter highlighted former members during National FFA Week to showcase post-high school opportunities.
As part of the judging for the award at the convention, the chapter was represented by officers Tori Quinter, Brenna Miller, and Morgan Kimmel, who gave a presentation and interview, with 10 minutes of questions about their proposals and findings.
In addition to the Model of Excellence honor, individual chapter members Hannah Shafer and Shae Robinson competed during the national competition and were finalists in their areas, recognized within the top four students in each.
Hannah was a finalist in Equine Science Placement and Shae was a finalist in Equine Science Entrepreneurship.
The Covington-UVCC FFA chapter was established in 2013 after the hiring of Helsinger and re-chartering of the program. The chapter now has about 75 members, consisting of students in seventh through 12th grades, and including four chapter officers.
In addition to soaking up the accomplishment, Helsinger said the chapter is currently focused on planning the school’s Veterans Appreciation assembly, which is set for Thursday, Nov. 7, beginning with breakfast at 8:10 a.m.
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