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(TAYLORVILLE) — The Taylorville High School 2023-’24 award-winning National FFA Chapter. In front, from left, Abby Erlenbush (National Finalist), Abby Norris (National Finalist), Jay Bliler (National Winner) and Drew Mickey (National Chapter Awards Presenter).
Second row: Ryker Beckmier, Hayden DeMichael, Sydney Vocks, Olivia Mizuer, Waylon Paulek, Tucker Winans, Stephen Franklin, Liam Steward, Chloe Grant and Logan Henry. In back, Ryan Brockelsby, Caleb Mizuer, Ben Wamsley, Rye Bliler, Will Curtin, Ethan Belcher, Audrey Curtin and Ella Reiss. See story at bottom of the page.
(Lucas Domonousky/Breeze-Courier Photo)
TAYLORVILLLE — Taylorville High School’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) Chapter was honored with the “Walk of Champions” through the building on Tuesday, Nov. 7, for their tremendous success during the National FFA Convention and Expo. The 96th annual FFA event was held in Indianapolis, ID and began on Wednesday, Nov. 1, and went through Saturday, Nov. 4.
Over 72,000 students, teachers and administrators attended the conference at Lucas Oil Stadium over the four day span all looking to build their knowledge and character. Bouncing ideas off of one another and being recognized for current projects, thoughtful experiments and over all dedication to the area of agriculture.
“It’s so nice to see kids from so many different parts of the country.” Taylorville FFA Advisor Sue Schafer explains. “Every state is represented plus Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. So our kids get to be around different agriculture. They get to meet somebody who has a jalapeño farm. Somebody who has an orange farm. So it’s really good for our kids to realize that it’s more than just corn, soybeans and cows. The big thing they learn is the leadership, communication, the public speaking and just really how to be the best version of themselves.”
After submitting an application containing community service projects and past awards members have won the National FFA Board chose the project which defined the Chapter. The hand-picked the THS undertaking “#MyMentor” to be presented at the convention. This was what set the local group apart from the rest of the country. Taylorville’s FFA Chapter was selected to receive the top award, 2023 National Chapter Award Finalist in Strengthening Agriculture.
“The thing is,” Schafer continues. “Our community is so awesome and all the things they do for us, help our kids. When you have a community, a school district and a group of kids that all work together this is what happens. Now we’re nationally known for all this stuff. It’s incredible. Some of these kids, it’s going to be super fun to see what they end up doing in their future. Just like so many of the alumni that come back and give, do already.”
As previously mentioned, the entire High School lined the halls to cheer for their fellow students who partake in FFA. Three hundred and eight (308) total FFA members collected in the cafeteria to hear from Taylorville Mayor Bruce Barry, THS Principal Matt Hutchinson who congratulated them on this monumental achievement.
“This is a big deal.” Says Principal Hutchinson. “You guys are successful because of your hard work and efforts. We have a great community that supports agriculture. That supports FFA. With that, we also have great advisors that make our program strong.”
Mayor Barry, too, expressed his amazement and support to the FFA Chapter.
“Appreciate all you do for the community.” He says during the assembly. “The community