Thirteen students and Future Farmers of America Members from Islands High School attended the 94th Georgia FFA State Convention held in Macon last month, where over 6,000 members and guests were in attendance. Multiple Islands High students were honored for their efforts at the convention and throughout the school year.
Islands FFA Senior, Peyton Coursey, was named the Georgia State Agricultural Education Proficiency winner. Peyton is graduating from the Veterinary Science choice program at Islands with her Veterinary Assistant Certification and has served three years as an officer of the Islands FFA Chapter. A Proficiency is one of the highest honors an individual student can earn in FFA and Agricultural Education. There are three components to the agricultural education program: Classroom Instruction, FFA, and SAE. An SAE, or Supervised Agricultural Experience, is a student-led project that takes place throughout the year. If a student goes above and beyond expectations in their selected SAE, they can qualify for a Proficiency Award in their chosen area.
Peyton's proficiency included her current work at Oatland Island and Davis Produce and her previous work at Faith Equestrian. She has helped teach various classes, done meal prep for animals at Oatland and is currently creating educational signage and helping manage the Davis Produce social media accounts. She had placed 1st in the central region in March. Peyton will compete for the National Agricultural Education Proficiency at the 95th National FFA Convention this October in Indianapolis, Indiana. Junior Alex King-Castro placed second in the state for his Service Learning Proficiency for his work with Renegade Paws Rescue.
The 2022 Islands High Veterinary Science team was recognized on stage for their third-place state finish. Team members included - juniors Abby Van Brimmer, Alex King-Castro and Katiana Boland as well as freshman Teylor Tomlin. Junior Abby Van Brimmer was also recognized for having the third-highest individual score in the state competition.
On Wednesday, April 27th, eight students and two advisors completed a community service project at Middle Georgia State University. Students were able to put to use the horticultural skills they learned in their agriculture classes to help beautify the campus.
Senior Gracelyn Fernandez placed 12th in the state after competing in the semi-finals round of the Prepared Public Speaking competition. The topic of her speech was the future of farming in the United States. Sophomore Chris Lopez placed 4th in the state for his presentation of his Agriscience Fair Research project on how human's perception of small animal emotions affects animal training and wellbeing. Junior Amelia Mauldin walked the stage to accept the chapter's Gold National Chapter recognition. Only 38 FFA chapters in the state were awarded this highest honor.
Thursday, April 28, 10 students toured Southern Belle Farms in McDonough, Ga. to learn about growing peaches and apiculture (beekeeping) and attended a college and career fair to learn about opportunities within agriculture in the state of Georgia. Students were able to meet with and discuss Islands FFA and agriculture programs with National FFA Vice President, Erik Robinson. Senior Kai Maria, as well as Juniors Alex King-Castro and Amelia Mauldin, were awarded their state degrees. This is the highest honor awarded to an FFA member at the state level.
Members Omaree Varner, Emma Keeton, Kai Maria, Willow Raub and Gracelyn Fernandez served as delegates of Islands FFA for the duration of the convention and were able to vote for the upcoming Georgia FFA State Officer Team. The mission of FFA is to promote premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Islands FFA Advisors are Elizabeth Miegel, James Oliver and Cheyenne Shearer.