The Fifth Ward Junior High School FFA Chapter from the community of Bush received top honors at the State FFA Convention in Alexandria last month by being named the best overall FFA Chapter in the state for 2012-2013.
Fifth Ward is the only middle school chapter to have ever won the overall Top FFA Chapter Award, which is usually given to high school chapters. The National FFA Organization is an organization for students enrolled in Agriscience Education, and its main goal is to develop leadership skills, personal growth and career success.
Tommy Peters, the chapter advisor, and student members were congratulated on their outstanding state accomplishment. “We won overall in the state based on student development, chapter development, and community development,” he said. They had earlier won best middle school chapter in the state, and he attributed the outstanding overall recognition to a lot of hard work on the part of the student members.
In preparation for the state convention, each chapter completes a 21 page application which consists of photos, goals, a Plan of Action and evaluation for each of several different activities. A review committee then ranks chapters as “Gold, Silver, and Bronze.” The Gold Chapters are interviewed by a selection committee that consists of Ag Business leaders, Department of Agriculture representatives and others.
Some of Fifth Ward FFA’s major activities include an Agricultural Leadership and Parent Night, an Exploring Careers in Agriculture event, the Character and Anti- Bullying Program, the FFA Awards and Appreciation Banquet, a Winter Gala, chapter fundraisers, a PEC Service Learning Project, the Fifth Ward Farm Safety Day, and Petting Farms at the parish fair and other events.
Now that it has been chosen at the top overall Louisiana chapter, Fifth Ward’s application will be forwarded to National FFA Association. The group will head to the National FFA Convention in late October. It was in the top five in the nation last year.
The Fifth Ward Junior High FFA chapter has been named the top middle school chapter in the state numerous times over the past several years.
Students who take part in the many FFA programs and projects are busy with many activities throughout the school year. They study forestry and parliamentary procedure, purchase hogs for livestock competitions, work on welding and woodworking projects and they help set-up and stock the Mini Farm at the St. Tammany Parish Fair.
For the first two months of the year, FFA members participate in livestock competitions at parish, district and state levels. Students also engage in competitions in everything from floraculture and landscaping to dairy production and livestock judging. In addition, they learn hunter and boating safety.
There are currently about 180 FFA Chapters in Louisiana.
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