Special to Iredell Free News

North Iredell High School FFA members participated virtually in the 92nd North Carolina FFA State Convention on June 22-24.

The chapter and its members received several prestigious honors and awards during the convention:

American FFA Degree

The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee. Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than 1 percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

North Iredell students Ryan Baldwin, Davis Brown, Zackary Cartner, Courtney Elledge, Preston McLain and Chanler Speaks will be awarded the American FFA Degree at the 94th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indiana later this year.

Old North State FFA Degree

State degrees are awarded by the State FFA Association for select members that meet the requirements for the degree, which include completing two years of agricultural education coursework, investing a minimum of $1,000 or 300 hours in their respective SAE project, participating in several FFA events, and completing 25 hours of community service.

North Iredell students Codi Barker, Landon Lowtharpe, Abby Martin, Jackson Miller, and Natalie Tucker received their Old North State FFA Degree at the convention.

Proficiency Awards

FFA members must conduct a Supervised Agricultural Experience project to earn hours or money to qualify them for the different degrees in FFA. FFA members with exceptional SAE’s are invited to complete proficiency awards to compete against other FFA members in the same area. This year two students submit proficiency award applications.

Allison Cook placed second in the state in the Diversified Horticulture Award area, and Laurel Gray placed first in the Agricultural Sales – Placement Award area. Laurel’s proficiency application will advance to the national contest, where she will compete against other winning applications from across the country.

State Star – Placement

Outstanding achievement in a placement SAE and active participation in the FFA is recognized with the State Star Placement Award. Each year the North Carolina FFA Association selects one member to receive the State Star Placement Award. The State Star Placement Award winner for 2021 is Laurel Gray.

FFA Scholarship

North Carolina FFA and various donors sponsor several scholarships for FFA members pursuing higher education. This year, Laurel Gray was awarded the Michael E. Bayne Memorial Scholarship in the amount of $1,500.