Batesburg-Leesville, SC - Batesburg-Leesville High School agricultural education students attended the South Carolina FFA-sponsored State Legislators Appreciation Ceremony in Columbia on February 21st. FFA stands for “Future Farmers of America.”
The students, accompanied by Libby Templeton (Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor at BLHS) and Ashley Owens (a student teacher from Clemson University), began the day by visiting with Sen. Katrina Shealy and Rep. Cal Forrest. Students thanked them for their support of agricultural education and learned about some of the current issues that the state Assembly is discussing.
Following those visits, the group joined approximately 1,300 other FFA members and advisors from across South Carolina on the north steps of the State Capital for a special recognition ceremony. The event started with the FFA opening ceremonies. Then, the group was lead in prayer by Christle Tindall, State Vice President, and heard a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem by Emily McDaniel from the McBee Chapter.
The State FFA Officers introduced Josh McCall, President of the South Carolina Association of Agricultural Educators, to present Representative and Speaker of the House Jay Lucas with the John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award. Speaker Lucas is a great friend and supporter of agricultural education and the FFA. The John W. Parris Agricultural Leadership Award is the most admired recognition presented by the South Carolina Association of Agricultural Educators. This award was established several years ago by the association and is named in honor of Mr. John W. Parris.
Molly Spearman, State Superintendent of Education, applauded the FFA organization for its hard work and concern for the welfare of the community. She also stated that she is a firm believer in Career and Technical Education and how students learn citizenship and leadership in classes such as agricultural education.
SC Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers presented the Governor’s Proclamation to the State FFA Officers on behalf of Governor McMaster. This was in recognition of National FFA Week, which was recognized February 17-24, 2018. Commissioner Weathers also stated that this was one of his favorite days at the capital.
Sen. Daniel Verdin and Rep. David Hiott both gave remarks to the FFA members in attendance and presented a Resolution of Recognition and Commendation to the State FFA Officers on behalf of all the members of the SC General Assembly.
Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman and Mr. Cleveland Jackson, a retired Agricultural Education Teacher, were presented the Honorary American Degree on behalf of the National FFA Organization. This prestigious award is reserved for those individuals who have gone beyond the call of duty to promote and support the mission of the FFA at the local, state and national levels.
The FFA positively influences the young people of America by developing character and leadership skills and preparing members for successful careers. FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural education and hands-on learning, FFA members are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industries of agriculture. With more than 653,000 members, the organization has a history of service and a legacy of leadership.