Five Washington State FFA programs are finalists for national FFA awards, and a state adviser says it’s a sign of creativity and innovation from student members.
The Elma and Goldendale FFA chapters are national finalists for the National FFA Organization’s 2016 Model of Innovation awards for student development for logging rodeo and non-traditional agriculture career programs, respectively.
The Omak chapter is a finalist for the national Model of Innovation award for chapter development for its officer mascot’s social media campaign.
The Ephrata chapter is a finalist for the national Model of Innovation community development award for highway crop signs with the Quincy Rotary.
The Yelm chapter is a finalist for the Model of Excellence award.
“I think it’s really significant when you look at the size and scope of our national organization,” said Rebecca Wallace, Washington FFA adviser and agricultural education program supervisor in the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. “Having one of the top 10 chapters in the nation as an overall program means they’re one of the best. That’s huge.”
Every chapter in good standing in the nation is eligible for such recognition, Wallace said, noting there are more than 7,000 chapters.
The national organization is looking for programs that are “new, different, exciting – you really have to be quite innovative,” Wallace said.
Wallace believes it’s the first time Washington has had this much recognition in one year.
“It speaks to the good works being done in the communities across the state, the strong leadership and dedication from our agricultural educators and the creativity and innovation that our students have when they’re putting together their program activities,” she said.
Students plan the activities, Wallace said.
“Statistically, to have five finalists out of one state across the nation being recognized, I think that speaks volumes,” Wallace said.
The programs also benefit from the participation of local communities, Wallace said.
“Most certainly, the programs that have the most success means they’re really drilled in to their local industry partners,” she said.