April 07, 2002 11:00 pm
Shonda Titus ().
Shonda Titus ().

Submitted by Union FFA

WOODBURN The Union FFA chapter, along with more than 2,000 Oregon FFA members, advisers and others traveled to Woodburn to attend the 74th Annual Oregon FFA State Convention March 2225.

Eastern Oregon high school chapters attending included Joseph, Enterprise, Elgin, Imbler, La Grande, Union, North Powder, Baker City and Pine Eagle.

The Union chapter has approximately 45 members. Each member is enrolled in an ag science class or is a recent graduate.

A highlight of the convention was Unions chapter winning a chapter proficiency award, along with individual honors given chapter members.

FFA focuses on agricultural topics, hands-on supervised career experience, provides leadership opportunities and challenges students agricultural skills.

FFA helps students develop their leadership skills by participating in public speaking, skill contests, chapter meetings, award and recognition programs, committees and community projects.

The Oregon State FFA Convention is an annual event that features award recognition, motivational speakers, scholarship presentations, industry tours, career enhancement activities, a state FFA officer election and entertainment. Students also serve as voting delegates and help decide firsthand what policy changes will affect FFA in the coming year. They also work in committees to select students for awards in recognition of their achievements.

The convention is the highlight of the year for the Oregon FFA, said Gina Higley of Elgin, Oregon State FFA sentinel for 2000-2001.

This years theme was FFA Make It Your Mission

The 2000-2001 State FFA Officer team brought the convention to order Friday night. Kickoff speaker Stewart Kennedy gave an inspirational talk on thinking outside the jar. He was the developer of a new food product called peanut butter wraps, which resemble cheese slices made of peanut butter. He said it was a simple idea that he just put into action.

On Saturday, committees were set up, chapter awards were presented and some tours were offered. That night, Higley presided over the session and the state-prepared public speaking contest was held.

Sunday started off with an optional Christian cowboy church service, a trade show and a greeting from the alumni association, sophomore public speaking, and scholarship presentations.

Later in the day committee assignments were completed, tours were given and the delegates had a business session. Sunday night outstanding ag teachers and programs were recognized, distinguished service awards were given and Higley gave her retiring address.

Monday was election of new state officers, workshops and tours. That night at the final session, awards were presented and the new officers were installed. Caty Owens, the Eastern Oregon District FFA president from Baker City, was elected to serve as this years state sentinel.

Union had 14 members attend including Ace Clark, Ken McCord, Shonda Titus, Amanda Kullman, Mollie Graham, Kim Dewitt, Amity Clark, Cristal Thurston, Josh Stout, Nathan Riggs, Sarah Hammond, Cecilia Hess, Debra Hachen and Lynsey Rogers.

Titus and Clark were awarded state FFA proficiency awards in Ag Sales and Service and Diversified Grain Production, respectively. Ken McCord was presented with a district proficiency award in turf management, and Mollie Graham was presented with her Oregon State FFA degree, which is the highest award the state can bestow upon one of its members.

The Union chapter was awarded the Superior Chapter award at the second session Saturday.

On Tuesday the chapter got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hatfield Marine Science Center, visited the wharf area of Newport and saw some whales that turned out to be a few rocks.

The members had to give up five days of their spring break, but they said they had a great time, learned a lot and got to meet many new and old friends.