“This is a very difficult thing for them to do. They have to plan out a program of activities at the first of the year and then they have to diligently go through that program of activities, which includes leadership, community and other aspects,” career and technical education director Arlette Robinson said.
Robinson said she saw a demonstration of the leadership skills student gain from the program at the national conference when a freshman shook hands with the Tennessee commissioner of Agriculture and introduced himself.
“It’s a neat thing to have the tradition that we have at Bradley Central High School,” said BCHS FFA teacher Richard Ledford. “Just to be a part of the program that was started in 1956,” is special, he said.
BCHS FFA president Lucas Brown said winning the gold emblem gives the club a lot of recognition and sponsorships from different companies.
Some of the current FFA members have followed in their parents footsteps’ in their participation in the organization. Ledford said the FFA chapter was started by one of his ag teachers.
To be eligible to receive the Gold Emblem a chapter must complete an activity for each of its quality standards. According to the National FFA website, these include student development in Leadership, Healthy Lifestyles, Career Success, Scholarship and Personal Growth; chapter development in Chapter Recruitment, Finance, Public Relations, Cooperation and Support Group; and community development in Economic Development, Environment, Human Resources, Citizenship and Agriculture Promotion.
Lu Ann Carey works with Ledford in the program.
To fulfil some of these requirements the club participated in a river rescue event, sold vegetable plants and had a tractor parade, according to Brown.
The Bradley Central FFA recently attended the national conference. There were 55,700 students, sponsors and guests present.
“It was a blast,” Brown said of receiving the Gold Emblem at the conference.
During the conference former Bradley Central FFA member Bo Ellis was presented with the American farming degree. Ellis graduated last year.
“(This degree) is the highest honor that can be given to a member,” Robinson said. “And this is extra special, because it’s not during their high school years. He or she completes their high school program, a year after high school, still works in the agriculture field and collects all of these extra points. ... This shows our influence past high school ... and we are very, very proud of Bo.”