The East Wake High School FFA club held its annual awards ceremony Thursday, May 26, recognizing 11 “honor graduates.”
These students had to have taken at least three semesters of agriculture classes and maintained a grade point average of at least 3.3 in those classes. They had to complete a minimum of 25 agriculture service hours and be active in FFA meetings and career development events.
Club adviser Janet Harris draped a cord in the FFA colors of blue and gold over the shoulders of the honor graduates to recognize the achievement and gave each student a big hug.
The club also installed its new officers for next school year at the ceremony and recognized this year’s officers.
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Outgoing President Brianna Fowler, inspired by Harris, plans to study agriculture education at Mount Olive University beginning in the fall and wants to be an agriculture teacher once she finishes college. Fowler was among the honor graduates.
“I want to advocate for agriculture like I have for the past four years,” Fowler said.
The club, which had 108 members this school year, has taken top FFA honors in the county in each of the past six years. It participated in about 25 career development events this school year and attended the organization’s national convention in Louisville, Ky.
Newly-elected President Bailey Watkins said she wants to get that event number higher next year, as well as increasing the awareness of agriculture in the county.
“I’m super excited for this upcoming year,” Watkins said. “I just want to continue the tradition that’s been started here.”
Watkins said her love of animals fostered in FFA will continue to play a part in her life as a hobby. “Maybe I’ll have a farm when I’m older,” she said.
Honor graduate Ashton Cannon pointed to the family atmosphere that Harris and the other faculty adviser, Lane Dickens, have promoted in the club, especially as she’s seen the younger members progress over the years. “The growth you see other students make is just incredible,” Cannon said.
Cannon is bound for Western Carolina University in the fall, where she plans to study nursing and will also compete on the soccer team. She said the leadership and communications skills she learned through FFA will continue to help her in college and career.
In addition to Cannon and Fowler, the other honor graduates were: Marcella Abate, Michael Blow, Matthew Brewer, Casey Egan, Kendall Frazier, Emily Grudzinski, Daniel Lambert, Amanda MacGibbon and Payton Tant.
“I could not ask for a better group to take to do things, go places,” Harris said during the ceremony. “When we ask to do something, it’s done. So parents, pat yourself on the back.”
Harris had a special message for her seniors about maintaining contact after graduation: “I will hunt you down if you don’t keep in touch with me.”
FFA was founded in 1925 at Virginia Polytechnic Institute as Future Farmers of Virginia and in 1928 became a nationwide organization known as Future Farmers of America. The name was changed in 1988 to the National FFA Organization, commonly known simply as FFA.
Matt Goad: 919-829-4826