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Charlotte Amalie
Monday, January 30, 2023
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USVI Sends Students to National Future Farmers of America Convention in Indiana

The Future Farmers of America of the Virgin Islands (Submitted photo)

The 95th annual National Future Farmers of America Organization Convention and Expo concluded on Oct. 30 in Indianapolis, Ind. National FFA Organization is the new name for what has been known as the Future Farmers of America for many years.

Among the 69,000 + young people, the Virgin Islands had a contingent of 18 FFA students, six chaperones, stand-alone alumni member Kirk Lewis, and Assistant Commissioner from the V.I. Department of Education Victor Somme III. The group was led by Velda Hendricks, state advisor of the FFA of the Virgin Islands Association, who is a teacher at the Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 school.

The Virgin Islands was represented by three schools: the Eulalie R. Rivera FFA, the John H. Woodson Jr. FFA from St. Croix and the St. Thomas-St. John Seventh-day Adventist School Trailblazers FFA representing St. Thomas-St. John.

Chaperones in attendance were Carlos Robles, former V.I. commissioner of Agriculture; Berle Wallace, John H. Woodson Jr. School; Suzette Adams and Ellen Cyrille-Charles from Eulalie R. Rivera School; and Principal Joanna Brow, Eulalie R. Rivera K-8 School.

Future Farmers of America of the Virgin Islands at the National FFA Convention in Indiana (Submitted photo)

Highlights

For the first time in the history of FFA in the Virgin Islands, Milagros Rodriguez an 8th grader from the Eulalie R. Rivera FFA chapter competed in the Creed Speaking CDE Competition at the 95th FFA Convention and Expo. She did not make it to the final round; however, she made USVI proud by reciting the creed without making any mistakes and missing any words; but she lost points in her answers to the three questions that she did attempt to answer. Congratulations, Milagros Rodriguez.

Ellen Cyrille-Charles served as a judge in the Creed Speaking Competition at the national level for the first time in the history of the Virgin Islands attending FFA conventions.

The new Virgin Island FFA charter was also recognized by the National FFA organization for having an increase in membership for the school year 2021-2022.

Students took part in the 95th National Convention and Expo Day of Service activity where they sewed book pillows and donated books to 3rd-5th graders in Indianapolis. As the FFA motto states: “Learning To Do, Doing To Learn, Earning To Live, Living To Serve.”

National FFA Chief Program Officer Christine White summed up the scene at the 95th FFA National Convention and Expo, saying, “The blue and gold jacket brings these young people together and unites them for a common purpose. National convention is just the vessel and catalyst to allow this to happen.”

The 95th annual National Future Farmers of America Organization Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, 2022. (Submitted photo)

Only two persons of the V.I. delegation had ever attended the National Convention and Expo in the past; thus, this was the first time traveling to the mainland for some and to Indianapolis for many. The convention, which was held from Oct. 26-30, brought together students, advisors and student delegates who voted on pertinent issues that included: agriculture and ag education, teachers, administrators trade and agriculture industry leaders for networking and team building opportunities, student leadership, personal development, teacher training, school administrators, involvement workshops and seminars.

Hundreds of ag-affiliated businesses, universities and institutions provided opportunities for attendees to see and experience the latest innovations in agriculture technology. Students had the opportunity to also explore the FFA Mega shop and other merchandise vendors that sell agriculture products.

The V.I. delegation was treated to a live rodeo show at the Indiana State Fair Farmers Coliseum and a state dinner at Weber Grill.

The FFA of the Virgin Islands gives a heartfelt thank you to the National FFA organization for its continued support of Ag Ed and FFA in the V.I., the Virgin Islands Career Education Technical Board, Department of Education, Shamari Haynes from the Department of Tourism, Caravelle Hotel and all members of the community who contributed in any way to make this experience for our students a great success. We say Thank you, thank you, thank you!

For information, contact Velda Hendricks, state advisor, FFA of the Virgin Islands, at 514-2124

usvirginislandsffa@gmail.com

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