Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year, 4,262 American Degrees were awarded.
Conner Christian, Kylie Eike, Kendall Nelson, Zach Perkins and Faith Thompson, all members of the Newark FFA chapter, were recently awarded the American FFA Degree at the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo.
The award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs.
To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they start, own or hold a professional position in an existing agricultural enterprise. Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement.
Christian, a 2017 graduate of Newark Community High School, is the son of Jeremy and Jill Christian of Newark. His SAE consisted of poultry production, diversified crop production and dairy production placement. He is currently attending Joliet Junior College, and will major in agriculture education after transferring to Western Illinois University.
Eike, a 2017 graduate of Newark Community High School, is the daughter of Brad and Jana Eike of Sheridan. Her SAE consisted of corn production, soybean production, and swine production. She is currently attending Joliet Junior College, planning to transfer to Illinois State University and major in agriculture communications and leadership.
Nelson, a 2017 graduate of Newark Community High School, is the son of Philip and Carmen Nelson of Seneca. His SAE consisted of soybean production, corn production, beef production and swine production. He is currently attending Joliet Junior College, then transferring to U of I or Iowa State to major in agriculture communications with a minor in agriculture business management. Nelson was also the state of Illinois’s American Star Farmer candidate.
Perkins, a 2017 graduate of Newark Community High School, is the son of Mike and Tina Perkins of Millbrook. His SAE consisted of nursery operations and swine entrepreneurship. He currently attends Joliet Junior College and plans on transferring to Iowa State or Illinois State to major in agribusiness.
Thompson, a 2017 graduate of Newark Community High School, is the daughter of Ed and Jennifer Thompson of Newark. Her SAE consisted of swine production, forage production, sheep production and equine management. She is currently attending Joliet Junior College, planning to transfer to Illinois State University and major in elementary education.