FHS – Local FFA members received national honor

 American FFA Degree celebrates academic and professional excellence


Pictured are Firelands Principal-Mr. Reighley, Shelby Balint, Josh Ward and FFA Advisor- Shanna Finnegan.

Pictured are Firelands Principal-Mr. Rick Reighley, Shelby Balint, Josh Ward and FFA Advisor- Shanna Finnegan.

LOUISVILLE, KY – Each year, the National FFA Organization is proud to honor the FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. That honor, the American FFA Degree, is bestowed upon a select group of individuals for years of academic and professional excellence. This year, three Firelands FFA members received the highest degree attainable in the National FFA Organization.

Shelby Balint-a 2011 Firelands graduate, Alex Tuggle-2012 graduate, and Josh Ward-2012 graduate, were selected to join that exclusive list and were awarded the American FFA Degree at the 86th National FFA Convention & Expo in Louisville, KY. The convention is known as the largest student gathering in the United States was October 30-November 2.

The American FFA Degree is sponsored by Case IH, Farm Credit, Elanco, DuPont Pioneer and Syngenta as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. It recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $7,500 through a supervised agricultural experience program in which they start, own or hold a professional position in an existing agriculture enterprise. Recipients must also complete 50 community service hours, as well as demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement.

Each recipient of the American FFA Degree received gold American FFA Degree Key plus a certificate after being on-stage during the convention.

Shelby Balint, daugther of Tom and Darlene Balint of Florence Township, was the 2010-11 Firelands FFA student advisor.  Shelby was a valuable member of the Parliamentary Procedure team.  During her years of FFA, she has served on several judging teams and leadership activities. Her lists of accomplishments & activities are extensive.  She was the most involved student in the chapter all four years.  She has earned a list of awards in FFA including; Star Greenhand, Star Chapter Member, Star Junior Member, and Dekalb Star Senior Award,Scholarship Award, many Career Development Event awards, proficiency awards and was Supreme FFA Exhibitor. Shelby’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects were placements at an orchard, horse farm, and production farm along with raising sheep, chickens, and turkeys.

Alex Tuggle,the son of Curtis and Marisa Tuggle of South Amherst, was the 2011-12 FFA President.  He was selected as Star Junior  and Dekalb Star Senior.  He has earned district and state proficiency honors for his Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project – he maintained a flock of sheep for market & show purposes. As a junior, he won the district proficiency and earned silver state honors, his senior year he was fourth place in the state.  He has been a member of the state finalist Parliamentary Procedure Team, General Livestock Judging Team, and competed in Public Speaking CDE contests.

Josh Ward, son of John and Martha Ward of Oberlin, was the 2011-2012 Firelands FFA treasurer. He has been awarded the most active member of his grade all years that he has been a member.  Josh was on the following Career Development Event Teams: Parliamentary Procedure, Agricultural Sales, Wildlife Management, Soils, Ag. Industrial Diagnostics, Outdoor Power & Equipment, and Agricultural Mechanics.  He was a fair supreme exhibitor candidate for three years.  Josh earned the AgCredit 110% Award his senior year. Josh’s SAEs included hay production and goat production.

The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 540,379 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,489 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.