The Miami Trace FFA held its annual banquet April 16 at the new Miami Trace High School. The chapter recognized members, advisors, parents and other community members who helped make the last year such a success. Many members were also recognized for having numerous achievements throughout the year.
Retiring president Meri Grace Carson welcomed everyone and was followed by members Graham Carson and Lahni Stachler with the introduction of special guests. Freshman members, Lexi Hagler and Bryce Bennett, introduced first-year members along with their parents. The invocation was given by junior member and retiring student advisor, Anita Pursell. There were approximately 500 people in attendance and the meal was catered by The Crown Room of Washington Court House.
To begin the award portion of the banquet, there were numerous scholarships presented to senior FFA members. Miami Trace FFA Alumni treasurer, Robin Beekman, presented the FFA Alumni scholarships to Kale Howard and Abby Riley. Meri Grace Carson received the Cummings Scholarship. The Wendt Group Scholarship was awarded to Andrea Robinson. Nathan Molloy received the Steven Bennett Scholarship. Becca Ratliff was the recipient of the Mark Garland Scholarship. Tori Evans received the Evans Family Scholarship. There were two recipients of the Justin Stuckey Scholarship: Abbi Pettit and Cassie Baird. The Farmer’s School Scholarship was awarded to Khenadi Grubb and Wyatt Cory.
Every year, the Miami Trace FFA officer team works very hard to have a successful year. Miami Trace High School Assistant Principal Bryan Sheets presented the retiring officer plaques to the 2018-2019 officer team. Those receiving the plaques were: land lab manager Luke Anders, building communities Lahni Stachler, growing leaders Graham Carson, strengthening agriculture Wyatt Atley, student advisor Anita Pursell, sentinel Regan Hagler, reporters Aubrey McCoy and Aubrey Schwartz, treasurers Morgan Eggleton and Cassie Baird, secretary Andrea Robinson, vice president Abbi Pettit, and president Meri Grace Carson.
The highest honor an FFA chapter can bestow on any individual is the honorary chapter degree. This year, the chapter honored one individual, Mitch Culbert.
Culbert is the assistant dean of satellites for Great Oaks Career campuses and has been the direct supervisor for the Miami Trace Ag Science program for the past several years. During that time, Culbert has been instrumental in securing up-to-date resources and equipment for ag classrooms, as well as assisting in travel arrangements for many winning career development teams. He serves as a liaison between the ag instructors and administration. The chapter is extremely thankful for his continual support of the Miami Trace FFA.
Retiring treasurer, Morgan Eggleton, presented the special FFA foundation awards. These awards included the top fruit and strawberry salesmen. This year the chapter fruit sale brought in over $105,000, and the strawberry sale brought in more than $20,500. Both of these sales help fund many chapter activities. The top 10 fruit salesmen were Tyler Cummings ($4,855), Connor Collins ($4,668), Aubrey Schwartz (4,269.50), Tori Waits ($4,176), Abbi and Weston Pettit ($3,970), Meri Grace and Graham Carson ($3,585), Becca Ratliff ($2,524), Andrea Robinson ($2,157), Bryce Bennett ($2,076) and Lahni Stachler ($1,951). The top five strawberry salesmen were Meri Grace and Graham Carson ($1,454), Connor Collins ($1,124), Abbi and Weston Pettit ($775), Lahni Stachler ($767) and Tyler Cummings ($539).
Multiple officers and members presented leadership awards, outstanding member awards, and scholarship awards. This year there were nine State FFA Degree recipients: Cassie Baird, Grant DeBruin, Morgan Eggleton, Regan Hagler, Aubrey McCoy, Anita Pursell, Aubrey Schwartz, Victoria Waits and Matthew Warner. These members will receive their degrees on Friday, May 3 at the State FFA Convention. There are eight members receiving their American Degrees this year from the chapter: BJ Anders, Nicholas Elrich, Garrett Hagler, Rebecca Heckathorn, Charles Milsted, JM Perill, Todd Peterson and Abbygail Pitstick. American Degree recipients will receive their degrees at the National FFA Convention in late October.
Proficiency awards are awarded to students who excel in the development of their SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) project. In the area of swine production entrepreneurship, Meri Grace Carson manages three head of crossbred sows. She markets her hogs at all levels of competition. Meri Grace has been able to expand her operation as well as her management practices each year. Meri Grace placed first at districts. In the area of organic agriculture, Grant DeBruin logs his hours on the family organic dairy farm. Grant spends his time caring for replacement heifers, assisting with milking, as well as daily care and feeding for the herd. Grant’s level of knowledge has earned him first place at districts and top four in the state. His exact placing will be revealed at the state convention in early May.
In the area of agricultural sales placement, graduate Rebecca Heckathorn has logged over 1,600 hours working at Family, Farm, and Home and currently, Tractor Supply Company. Rebecca started as a part-time employee and is now a shift supervisor. She oversees store operations and numerous employees. She is currently a freshman at Wilmington College studying agricultural education. Rebecca placed first at districts and is awaiting an interview for top four placing at state. She too will find out her exact placing at the state convention. In the area of small animal production and care, Aubrey Schwartz owns 40 head of breeding rabbits. Over the past two years, Aubrey has continued to expand her rabbitry in producing over 30 litters that she markets to local 4-H and FFA members. Aubrey placed second at districts.
Leadership Awards are based on the FFA Leadership Profile Assessment. Members receive points for their various activities, participation, along with chapter activities. The freshman leadership award recipients received garment bags. Those recipients were: Libby Alshire, Bryce Bennett, Drew Black, Connor Collins, Tyler Cummings, Blayne Ferguson, Lexi Hagler, Kylan Knapp, Weston Pettit and Emily Taylor. The sophomore leadership award recipients received personalized cups. These awards were presented to Luke Anders, Wyatt Atley, Reagan Barton, Kyler Batson, Graham Carson, Collin Farrens, Derek Mitchem, Lahni Stachler, Gracee Stewart, Matthew Webb and Lydia Zwoll. Junior leadership awards received personalized fleece pullovers. These recipients were: Grant DeBruin, Morgan Eggleton, Regan Hagler, Anthony Mayer, Aubrey McCoy, Anita Pursell, Aubrey Schwartz, Sam Sever, Ben Speakman, Victoria Waits and Matthew Warner. Senior leadership award recipients received fleece blankets. These recipients were: Cassie Baird, Meri Grace Carson, Wyatt Cory, Tyler Eggleton, Tori Evans, Khenadi Grubb, Abbi Pettit, Becca Ratliff, Andrea Robinson and Terry Stebelton.
Along with leadership awards, Outstanding FFA Member Awards are given each year to those most involved in the chapter activities. The top 10 outstanding members of the chapter were 1. Meri Grace Carson, 2. Connor Collins, 3. Lahni Stachler, 4. Tyler Cummings, 5. Abbi Pettit, 6. Victoria Waits, 7. Graham Carson, 8. Aubrey Schwartz, 9. Bryce Bennett and 10. Weston Pettit. The top 10 members received personalized gifts.
Every year freshman members are bestowed with the title of Star Greenhand. These members are the most involved in leadership and chapter activities throughout the year in the freshmen class. This year the Star Greenhands were Tyler Cummings and Connor Collins. Also, one senior member is awarded the title of Star Farmer. The Star Farmer for 2018 was Meri Grace Carson. The chapter also rewards a member as the Star Chapter Agribusiness member. This is based on how many points the member has earned over their four years in the MT FFA chapter. This year the winner was Tori Evans.
The Miami Trace FFA is also concerned with academics and encourages members to excel in this area. In order to receive an FFA Scholarship Award, a member must have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. The members that receive this award are rewarded with a pin that the member can wear on their FFA jackets.
The freshman scholarships were awarded to Libby Alshire, Makayla Barnes, Bryce Bennett, Drew Black, McKenna Casto, Connor Collins, Tyler Cummings, Alexia Cusic, Sarah Duron-Babb, Dylan Farley, Taylor Fenner, Todd Ford, Julie Harrison, Reagan Ivers, Madison Johnson, Kennedy Kelley, Lorelei King, Hidy Kirkpatrick, Makenna McFadden, Weston Melvin, Emily Moser, Weston Pettit, Emma Pitstick, Paighten Reed, Savannah Shupert, Lindsey Stump, Emily Taylor and Ashley Wilson.
The sophomore scholarship awards were given out to Haylee Anders, Wyatt Atley, Graham Carson, Adrienne Dollarhide, Siara Eggleton, Collin Farrens, Brianna Gozy, Addy Little, Taylor Moore, Lahni Stachler, Gracee Stewart and Lydia Zwoll.
The junior scholarship awards were given to Elijah Brown, Kyler Conn, Grant DeBruin, Morgan Eggleton, Cole Enochs, Jacob Harris, Aubrey McCoy, Anita Pursell, Aubrey Schwartz, Devan Thomas and Victoria Waits.
The senior scholarships were given to Meri Grace Carson, Wyatt Cory, Tori Evans, Khenadi Grubb, Cassidy Lovett, Abbigayle Pettit and Andrea Robinson.
The banquet would not be complete without the announcement of the newly elected 2019-2020 FFA officers. The new officer team consists of president – Aubrey Schwartz, vice president – Anita Pursell, secretary – Morgan Eggleton, treasurers – Graham Carson and Kylie Pettit, reporter – Aubrey McCoy, publicity reporter – Regan Hagler, student advisor – Lahni Stachler, sentinel – Luke Anders, growing leaders – Blayne Ferguson, building communities – Matthew Warner, strengthening ag – Weston Pettit, and lab manager – Bryce Bennett.