By Autumn Pecarovich and Colby Jobinger —
O’NEALS — To increase their ability to become premier leaders, 19 Minarets FFA chapter members traveled more than six hours to the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, from Wednesday through Saturday, Oct. 24 – 27. Over the course of the week, they attended convention sessions where they heard from motivational speakers, current national officers, and the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
Minarets junior Mackenzie Camacho competed in the finals for her agriscience project titled What Lies Beneath, after making it into the top twelve in the nation. She received 1st Place at the Agriscience award ceremony in the category of plant systems — after working over one hundred and fifty hours on her project.
“My project was about finding the best fungicide towards preventing the growth of a fungus called Botryosphearia, that recently jumped species and is now attacking walnut trees,” Camacho explains, expressing appreciation for the support she received along the way.
“My mom helped me so much on this project. She invested so many hours and spent late nights with me working on my project. Ms. Sweet also helped me get this far and I appreciate her editing my paper. And I can’t forget my friends and grandparents for supporting me and listening to my speech and asking me a million interview questions.
“I think my project was so successful because I had many people read over my report and I knew my project inside and out. I am considering continuing my project. And hopefully I will achieve future success in agriscience, forestry, natural resources, and parliamentary procedure.”
As the convention, five dedicated alumni members received the American Degree, the highest possible degree in the FFA.
To receive this degree these recipients had to also receive their State FFA degree and have either earned and productively invested at least 7,500 dollars or have earned and productively invested at least 1,500 dollars and worked 2,250 hours in excess of scheduled class time in their supervised agricultural experience project.
These recipients were alumni Andrew Rezendes, Bailey Samper, Jordyn Samper, Madisyn Beyer, and Shyann Mattes. The other five members that received the degree but could not attend were alumni Jesse Miles, Noah Rodriguez, Logan Christianson, Kailey Lemon, and Alexis Fringer.
Our members also went to Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio where they visited the Columbus Zoo, Field Museum, and many of Chicago’s landmarks, including the Cloud Gate. These members also attended a Garth Brooks concert and heard President Donald Trump give a speech during the last Convention session.
In one of the exhibit halls there was a college fair with representatives from schools all over the nation that allowed our students to see different college options and answer many of their questions. These activities and speeches allowed our members to make friends all over the country, develop their potential for premier leadership, and even explore new career options.
Overall, this was a great opportunity for our students to learn new leadership skills to bring back to our chapter.
Autumn Pecarovich and Colby Jobinger are students at Minarets