Thirteen Black River FFA students and Advisor Mrs. Howard attended the Ohio FFA State Convention in Columbus May 2-4. At the convention, the students had the opportunity to listen to motivational speakers, gain valuable leadership skills, engage in educational tours and receive recognition for their hard work among over 8,700 members and guests.
On the way down, the group made a trip to Allmendinger’s Sawmill. The students toured the family-owned and operated sawmill that provides service and quality products to Ohio and surrounding states. The students watched logs go through the entire process from unloading the truck to the final products: boards and chips. After the sawmill, the group visited another locally and family-run business, Baker’s Acres. Owner Chris Baker explained to the group how they raise and sell over 4,000 varieties of plants and specialize in several types of coleus and succulents. Each member was given a succulent to take home as a souvenir. Following the tour, the students enjoyed an evening at Sky Zone Trampoline Park.
On Thursday, the chapter started off at Anthony Thomas Chocolates. The tour included a step-by-step process of the cocoa bean, and ended with a delicious buckeye candy. Our next stop took us to Shirley’s Gourmet Popcorn facility. All four tours provided the group with several different aspects and opportunities within the agriculture industry.
This year was an exceptional year for the Black River FFA Chapter as students received a number of awards at the convention. Receiving the first awards of the convention were Treasurer Anna Shearer; Secretary Cori Aviles; and Reporter Hannah Abfall. Each of the officers received recognition on stage and were awarded gold pins for earning a State Gold Rating on their officer books.
The next group of students to receive recognition were those with exemplary SAE programs and have earned their Ohio FFA State Degrees. This year, Breanna Clifford, Morgan Czarny, Hannah Heath and Jeff Owen represented Black River High School as four of the elite Ohio FFA members to earn the degree. Breanna’s SAE project consists of raising market dairy beef, lambs and goats at Clifford Farms. Morgan works at Stout Kennels caring for dogs. Hannah worked in the office and grounds at Rustic Lake Campgrounds, and Jeff earned his State Degree working on his family dairy farm; H.B. Owen Dairy.
In addition to members receiving individual awards, the chapter also received recognition for earning a Gold Rating on its National Chapter Award application. The National Chapter Award program recognizes the elite FFA chapters in the state of Ohio that successfully complete an annual Program of Activities, which includes a series of activities designed to encourage its members to grow as individuals, to work as part of a team and serve others. It is a summary of all of the activities that the students and chapter participate in and grow within student, chapter and community development. The application will advance for review at the national level, where the Black River FFA chapter will also be recognized at the National FFA Convention in October.
The students also had the opportunity to participate in a community service project and leadership workshops at the convention. With our help, FFA members from all over Ohio helped to pack 88,000 meals as part of the Ohio FFA Fights Hunger service project. The project was made possible by the hundreds of volunteers and donations from the Ohio Corn & Wheat Growers Association, Bob Evans and the Ohio FFA Foundation.
The following students attended: Callee Aviles, Chloee Howard, Molly Cordonnier, Cassidy Mrakuzic, Katlyn Kubitz, Rebecca Stroud, Madison Bias, Nathan Clifford, Cori Aviles, Joe Mennell, Hannah Heath, Alexa Shearer and Breanna Clifford.