Penn Yan FFA shines at state convention

Scott Fingar
Members of the Penn Yan Chapter of FFA who attended the 87th Annual New York State FFA Convention.

Fourteen members representing the  Penn Yan Chapter of FFA attended the New York State FFA Convention held May 3-5 at the Vernon -Verona -Sherrill School in Vernon.  More than 1200 students, teachers, and guests from across New York descended upon the Oneida County destination, as teenagers participated in leadership and agricultural competitions, receiving awards, and running for the state level leadership positions.

The event theme, “The Signature of Success,” outlined six qualities that serve as markers of quality in individuals that are successful.  Throughout the three day event, students were recognized and challenged to build up the characteristics of Generosity, Hunger, Vision, Growth, Dignity and Tradition.  Students competed in Career Development Events, earned scholarships, received cash prizes, and were recognized onstage.

“Whether it’s serving communities, winning Career Development Events, or making lasting contributions to the food, fiber, and natural resources systems, FFA could not claim to be successful without the accomplishments earned by its individual members,” State FFA

President and senior at Belleville Henderson Central School, J.W. Allen explained.  “The world we live in needs us to be successful now, more than ever before.  We hope to recognize students, and help them to see the things they’re doing have real impact.”

Allen’s intentions were fulfilled.  Throughout the convention, over five hundred awards, degrees, and other forms of recognition were distributed to FFA members.  Students and teachers were recognized for the influence they have in their schools, communities, and the agricultural industry.

Penn Yan FFA member highlights included:

• Brittany Griffin received her Empire Degree.  This is the highest degree an FFA member can receive in New York State. Ityon student’s development of work experience in agriculture, leadership skills development and personal growth.  Brittany was also named the District 8 Star in Agricultural Production.  She also received first place in Sheep Production Proficiency, and her application will now be submitted for National level evaluation.

• Emily Fingar placed first place in People in Agriculture Contest.  This contest focusses on the students ability to conduct career research, then create a poster and interview in front of three judges.  Emily also placed sixth in New York State in the Creed Recitation Contest.  

• Chris Conley received a Gold Ranking, and placed first in New York State in the area of  Fruit Production.  This award is based on his work experiences in the area of fruit production, and his application will also be submitted to the National level for evaluation and ranking.  

• Maren Anderson received a Gold Ranking, and placed second in proficiency area of  Fruit Production.  Maren also represented District 8 by serving on the nominating committee for the New York State FFA officer candidates.  

• Scott Fingar placed fifth in the Junior High Prepared Public Speaking Contest.    His inspiring and informational speech was on the importance of farm safety.  

• The team of Chris Conley, Chris Gilbert, and Perry Lewis placed sixth in Agricultural Mechanics and Systems Competition.  There were 31 teams competing in this event, with over 100 individuals.   Christopher Gilbert earned a team-high score by placing eighth individually.

• The team of Danielle Fulkrod, Brittany Gilbert, Brooke Parsons, and Cassidy World competed in Veterinary Science Competition.  This was the first year Penn Yan has participated in this career development activity, and placed sixth in the State.  There were 25 teams in this contest.  

• The team of Allison Hamm, Katie Kriese, and John Morgan competed in Senior Quiz Bowl Competition.  Students answered a variety of agriculture questions in head-to-head competition.

Students also had the opportunity to participate in a variety of leadership-development workshops, witness inspirational speakers, and also toured several agriculturally related businesses in the surrounding area.

The students of the Penn Yan Chapter of FFA would like to thank the Penn Yan Central School Board and the Administration for allowing us to attend this annual event.  We would also like to thank Mr. John Kriese, FFA Advisor, as well as Mrs. Karen Fingar and Ms. Lisa Wood for chaperoning, and for helping to prepare for this event.

“FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.”

Emily Fingar placed first in the People in Agriculture Contest.