Members of the Newark FFA chapter attended the 91st annual Illinois State FFA Convention on June 11 to 13 along with more than 5,000 other FFA members, advisers and guests.
“Elevate” was the theme of the three-day event, which recognizes achievements of Illinois FFA members, elects the major state officer team and celebrates agriculture. Students at the convention were greeted with activities including a career fair featuring colleges and agribusinesses, an evening dance and talent show, and an opportunity to engage in the history of Illinois’ capital city.
The convention featured a new Spotlight on Service poster gallery where 24 FFA chapters highlighted a service project its members completed in the past year, celebrating the collective impact of Illinois FFA’s volunteer service. The program featured addresses by National FFA Southern Region Vice President Jordan Stowe of Alabama and from each of the retiring major state officers.
During the convention, the following awards were presented to the Newark FFA chapter:
Outstanding Chapter President Award: Rachel Testin was recognized as one of 10 outstanding chapter presidents in the state for exceptional leadership and service. The award is sponsored by the Illinois Farm Bureau.
Cooperative Activities Section winner and Tied for Fifth Place in State: The chapter was recognized as both the section winner and tied for the fifth-place chapter in Illinois for its cooperative activities. Through this program, FFA members and advisers learn the values and principles of cooperative businesses in the American free enterprise system and develop an understanding of the cooperative way of doing business. The Illinois Farm Bureau sponsors a trip for members to Washington, D.C., in late June to tour the nation’s capital.
Sam Taylor Memorial Scholarship recipient: Conner Christian was selected as one of five 2019 recipients of this statewide memorial scholarship. Established by the Taylor family in memory of Sam Taylor, the 1991-92 State FFA president, the scholarship is available to a graduating high school senior who is an Illinois FFA member planning to major in agriculture, a student enrolled in an agriculture program leading to a degree in agriculture, or a student enrolled in agriculture at a two or four-year college. Students majoring in agricultural education or animal science receive first consideration. The scholarship is administered by the Illinois Foundation FFA.
Beef Production Placement State Proficiency winner: William Gebhart is the son of Josh and Jenna Johnson of Yorkville; his FFA Adviser is Joe Steffen. William’s Supervised Agricultural Experience involves working at J-Land Cattle Co. William’s responsibilities include feeding, caring for, and helping with the day-to-day operations of the cattle herd. William credits his SAE with helping him find a passion for working with cattle and influencing him to pursue a career in agriculture.
Foundation $3,000 Club Award recipient: The chapter was recognized for coordinating a local campaign for the Illinois Foundation FFA which raised at least $3,000. The chapter’s fundraising total was $6,915.
Heritage Award Section winner: This program encourages FFA chapters to inform people of their heritage and rights and responsibilities as citizens. Increased involvement of every citizen in local, state and federal issues provides an important voice in the legislative process that is granted under the Illinois and U.S. constitutions. The Illinois Farm Bureau sponsors a trip for chapter members to Washington, D.C., in late June to tour the nation’s capital.