The Maine FFA Association (formerly known as “Future Farmers of America”) held its 83rd annual state convention May 9-10 at the University of Maine.
Education Commissioner Stephen Bowen and Agriculture Commissioner Walter Whitcomb spoke at the FFA award banquet, as did visiting National FFA President Clay Sapp. Gabrielle Cyr of Ashland High School was named Outstanding Student Chapter Officer, and Kevin Marquis of Easton was named FFA Chapter Advisor of the Year. Maine FFA specially recognized Thomas Hale, Caribou Regional Technology Center agriculture teacher, who is retiring after 38 years of teaching and numerous accomplishments.
The Maine FFA Association, run by students, is a leadership organization for high school and middle school students enrolled in agriculture and natural resources courses.
More than 200 students, advisors, judges and guests participated in the event, which featured competitions, workshops and tours. Competitions included public speaking, agricultural sales, floriculture, and livestock judging, among others.
Award winners received plaques and medals, as well as nearly $10,000 in cash and prizes. Honorary FFA degrees were given to members of the agricultural education community who had provided significant support to Maine FFA. Degree recipients included Commissioner Bowen; Commissioner Walter E. Whitcomb of the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry; Tish Carr, Superintendent for the Environment and Natural Resources event; Christopher Maseychik, welding instructor at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor; and Shari Ward, past FFA advisor and teacher of science at Ashland High School.