RUSSELLVILLE, Mo. — The Russellville FFA chapter held its Degree Ceremony on Monday, filling the high school gymnasium with FFA blue and corn gold.
The Cole R-1 School District's 27 first-year FFA members received the Bronze Pin of the Greenhand Degree, and 13 second-year members were awarded the Silver Pin of the Chapter Degree, accomplishments that took hard work, commitment and ingenuity. But these students still have the State and American degrees for which to strive.
"(The students) really worked hard to ensure they are going to activities and trying new things, so we are really hopeful and excited about the future Russellville FFA has," FFA Advisor Ellen Amos said.
Missouri State FFA President Abby Bertz, the evening's keynote speaker, spoke of hunting a particular Easter egg during her family's tradition that rewarded her with the opportunity to help her grandfather with farm chores.
"Grandpa and I had a really strong relationship, and we went from chores with grandpa to chores for grandpa," she said. "Grandpa entrusted in us to go feed his cattle every single day as he would."
Bertz said she carried heavy bags of feed to her grandfather's cattle when their ATV broke down because he trusted them with the responsibility, just like the students' classmates trust each other to train and practice for FFA competitions and the world depends on farmers to supply food.
"In the same exact way, as members of this organization so many things are going to take lots of effort, but in the end we are going to feel so accomplished because we worked for something that was more than ourselves," Bertz said. "This is something like studying a few more hours for livestock judging contests that are tomorrow."
Students must meet several requirements to receive the Greenhand Degree. They must be enrolled in agricultural education and have satisfactory plans for a supervised agricultural experience program; learn and explain the FFA Creed, motto, salute and mission statement; describe and explain the meaning of the FFA emblem and colors; demonstrate a knowledge of the FFA Code of Ethics and proper use of the FFA jacket; demonstrate knowledge of FFA history, the chapter constitution and bylaws and the chapter Program of Activities; own or have access to the Official FFA Manual and the Official FFA Student Handbook; and submit written application for the degree.
To receive the Chapter Degree, FFA members must have already received the Greenhand Degree; complete the equivalent of at least 180 hours of school instruction in agricultural education at or above the ninth-grade level, have in-operation an approved supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program and be enrolled in an agriculture course; have participated in planning and conducting at least three official functions in the chapter's Program of Activities; after entering agricultural education, earn and productively invest at least $150 by the member's own efforts or worked at least 45 hours in excess of scheduled class time or a combination of such and develop plans for continued growth and improvement in an SAE program; effectively lead a group discussion for 15 minutes; demonstrate five procedures of parliamentary law; show progress toward individual achievement in the FFA award programs; have a satisfactory scholastic record; and participate in at least 10 hours of community service activities.
After all of the students received their certificates and pins, Chapter President Austin Randolph adjourned the meeting and invited attendants to enjoy refreshments and converse with the new degree recipients.
"As we mingle with others, let us be diligent in labor, just in our dealings, courteous to everyone and above all, honest and fair in the game of life," Randolph said.