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FFA honors a record number of NEO students at National Convention

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POSTED ON BEHALF OF NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA A&M COLLEGE

FFA honors a record number of NEO students at National Convention

Miami, Okla. – Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 – Students from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) attended the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. Oct. 30 – Nov. 2, 2013. Seventeen students were recognized for their accomplishments in career development events, supervised agricultural experience projects, and by receiving their American FFA Degree.

The National FFA Organization awarded 13 NEO students with the American FFA Degree, the highest degree possible, at their national conference in Louisville, Ky. last month. The location of the convention has changed since last year’s location in Indianapolis. This year was the first time the National FFA convention has been held in Louisville since 2005.

"I am incredibly proud of each of these students in their accomplishments. The honor of receiving an American Degree, being recognized for a Proficiency, or being a part of the CDE team to compete at National FFA is a tremendous feat, and I am pleased we have the opportunity to recognize these students for their hard work,” said Shannon Cunningham, department chair of agriculture and assistant vice president of academic affairs. “Our number of students recognized continues to grow each year, which is purely a testament of the exceptional young leaders we have in our agriculture department here at NEO."

The prestigious honor is awarded based on demonstrated leadership abilities, commitment to the FFA, success in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAEs), and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing, and service programs. Approximately 3,500 American FFA Degrees are handed out each year at the National FFA Convention. That number represents less than half of 1 percent of all FFA members, making it one of the organization’s highest honors.

CDE Career opportunities abound within today’s agriculture industry. Career Development Events (CDEs) help students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in a competitive job market. NEO’s Shelby White was on the team who won the Horse CDE, and Branson Medeiros was a contestant in the National Livestock Judging CDE Contest.

There are 24 CDEs, covering job skills in everything from communications to mechanics. Some events allow students to compete as individuals, while others allow them to compete in teams

The National FFA convention is the nation’s largest annual youth gathering, welcoming students, parents, and educators from all across the United States.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 540,379 student members, all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

One of NEO’s current students, Kody Leonard, was selected as a National Proficiency Finalist. Leonard was one of four competing in the area of grain production. The process of selection was to go through an interview process. Then, a second interview was required to receive a trip to Costa Rica in June. Leonard was awarded the trip to Costa Rica.

There are more than 7,489 FFA chapters in the United States. The FFA bestowed its American FFA Degree on the following NEO students: Kelsey Matthews, Brooke Mareth, Chris Basden, JP Littlefield, Lea Crump, Holly Smith, Brittany Coffee, Kaitlyn Allen, Tandy Kidd, Garrett Edwards, Katie Chupp, Mikel Thomas, and Wyatt Lively.

Other students who received honors were:

Dylan Davis: Contestant National Livestock Judging Contest

Branson Medeiros: Contestant National Livestock Judging CDE Contest

Kody Leonard: Grain Production National Proficiency Finalist

Shelby White: Champion Winner in the Horse CDE Contest

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PHOTO COURTESY OF NORTHEASTERN OKLAHOMA A&M COLLEGE:  Back row, from left: Shannon Cunningham, dept. chair of agriculture and assistant vice president of academic affairs. Mikel Thomas, JP Littlefied, Wyatt Lively, Chris Basden, Dylan Davis, Kody Leonard, Tandy Kidd, and Tyler Dewey, livestock judging coach.  Front row, left to right: Shelby White, Lea Crump, Holly Smith, Kaitlyn Allen, Kelsey Matthews, Brooke Mareth, and Alisen Anderson, agriculture instructor.

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