The Vernon-Verona-Sherrill (V.V.S.) FFA was recently named the state’s top FFA program as selected by the New York Association of FFA.  At a gathering of more than 1,100 students and guests at the agriculture youth organization’s annual meeting, V.V.S. FFA chapter representatives Samantha Thurston and KristiAnn Frank received the prestigious award on behalf of the organization as presented by State FFA Secretary Maria Martinez.

The FFA Chapter of the Year award recognizes the top school-based, FFA organization in the state and is based upon an extensive application highlighting the organization’s program of activities.  Divisions of the application include Student Development, Chapter Development, and Community Development and feature three activities conducted by the organization’s membership throughout the year.

According to V.V.S. FFA President Mackenzie Nicol “Winning this award serves as an inspiration to our members and school community.  It recognizes the hard work and dedication of our members.”  V.V.S. High School Principal Andy Brown concurred “We are proud of the accomplishments of our agricultural youth and as they strive to be an FFA chapter of distinction”.  V.V.S. FFA advisor Keith Schiebel also noted “The award recognizes the dedication and achievements of our students, parents, FFA Booster Club, and faculty at V.V.S.; this is a true honor for our school and community.”

The V.V.S. FFA is known throughout the central New York region for its Maple Weekend pancake breakfast open house, along with production and sales of pure maple syrup.  The FFA also serves as hosts of the nation’s largest maple conference held annually in January and operates a mobile maple exhibit which travels statewide to deliver agriculture literacy programs.  This past year, the maple exhibit visited elementary schools in Utica, Rome, and Westmoreland, as well as New York City schools in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan.

More than 100 schools statewide offer agriculture education and are eligible to apply for the award.  For V.V.S., it was the fifth times in the past 8 years to receive the statewide honor.  As the state’s top FFA program, the Chapter qualifies for consideration by the National FFA in rankings in the National FFA Chapter award.  Twice in the past 8 years, the FFA program has received a national top ten finish in one of the program of activities categories.

The 3-day FFA convention was hosted at SUNY Morrisville and featured a line-up of motivational and informational presentations, a career show, and leadership workshops for the agricultural youth.

Featured photo: V.V.S. FFA