COLUMBIA — Union County Career and Technology Center agricultural education students attended the SC FFA-sponsored State Legislators Appreciation Ceremony in Columbia February 21.
The students accompanied by Mrs. Ashley Dill and Mr. Jeffrey Whisenhunt, agricultural education instructors and FFA advisors at Union County CATE Center, began the day by visiting with State Senators Peeler and Cromer. We thanked them for their support of Agricultural Education and learned about current issues that the State Assembly is discussing.
Following the visits, the group joined approximately 1,300 other FFA members and advisors from throughout South Carolina on the north steps of the State Capitol for a special recognition ceremony. The event was started with the FFA opening ceremonies. The group was lead in prayer by Christle Tindall, State Vice President, and heard a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem by Emily McDaniel from the McBee Chapter.
The State FFA Officers introduced Mr. Josh McCall, President of the South Carolina Association of Agriculture Educators, to present Representative and Speaker of the House, Jay Lucas, with the John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award. Speaker Lucas is a great friend and supporter of Agricultural Education and the FFA.
The John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award is the most admired recognition presented by the South Carolina Association of Agricultural Educators. This award was established several years ago by the association and named in honor of Mr. John W. Parris.
Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education, applauded the FFA organization for their hard work and concern for the welfare of the community. She also stated that she is a firm believer in Career and Technical Education and how students learn citizenship and leadership in classes such as Agricultural Education.
Commissioner Hugh Weathers, SC Commissioner of Agriculture, presented the Governor’s Proclamation to the State FFA Officers on behalf of Governor McMaster. This was in recognition of National FFA Week February 17-24, 2018. Commissioner Weathers also stated that this was one of his favorite days at the capital.
State Senator Daniel B. Verdin, of Laurens, Chairman of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and State Representative David R. Hiott, of Pickens County, Chairman of the House Agriculture, Natural Resources & Environmental Affairs Committee, both gave remarks to the FFA members in attendance and presented a Resolution of Recognition and Commendation to the State FFA Officers on behalf of all the members of the SC General Assembly.
Superintendent of Education, Molly Spearman and retired Agricultural Education Teacher, Mr. Cleveland Jackson, were presented the Honorary American Degree on behalf of the National FFA Organization. This prestigious award is reserved for those individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to promote and support the mission of the FFA at the local, state and National levels. This prestigious award is considered to be among the top Agricultural awards available in America. Members of the Union County FFA were proud to witness Mr. Cleveland Jackson receive such a significant award. He was accompanied by his wife, Mrs. Betty Jackson.
The 2017-18 State FFA Officers conducted the ceremony at the South Carolina State Capital. The State FFA Officers are: Philip Rhodes, State President, from the Calhoun Falls Chapter, Allison Harman, State Secretary from the Gilbert Chapter, Matt Bonnette, State Vice President from the Lexington — Richland 5 Chapter, Christle Tindall, State Vice President from the Edisto Chapter, Samantha Parker, State Vice President from the Pendleton Chapter and Lauren Kirkley, State Vice President from the McBee Chapter.
The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Washington’s Birthday.
The FFA positively influences the young people of America by developing character and leadership skills and preparing members for successful careers. FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural education and hands-on learning, FFA members are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industries of agriculture. With more than 653,000 members, the organization has a history of service and a legacy of leadership.