A pair of Rutherford County high schools — Stewarts Creek and Eagleville — recently earned national recognition at the Virtual National FFA Convention.
Harrison Falcofsky and Wyatt Blanks were fourth in the nation in the Animal Systems Division with their project titled "The Feed Analysis of Cannabis sativa Seed Varieties as an Outlet of Revenue for Hemp Producers."
"The National FFA Agriscience Fair recognizes students who gain real-world, hands-on experiences in agricultural enterprises," said Gina Stewart, agriculture instructor and FFA advisor at Stewarts Creek. "Students use scientific principles and emerging technologies to solve complex problems related to agriculture, food and natural resources."
Jayce Hatcher was named a silver medalist finalist in the small animal care proficiency award area. Agricultural proficiency awards honor FFA members who, through supervised agriculture experiences, have developed specialized skills they can apply toward their future careers.
Hatcher has developed his SAE at Premier Vet Care and Creature Comfort Kennels throughout this FFA membership, according to Stewart.
In addition to their acknowledgment, Stewarts Creek was recognized as a national three-star chapter.
The national chapter award program — the highest honor a chapter can receive — is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards and Program of Activities that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.
Stewarts Creek also had three students receive the American FFA degree — Bridget Robertson, Montana Wright and Lexie Gothard — which is the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization.
The degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter," said Stewart, who added, "Stewarts Creek FFA was rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership."
Like Stewarts Creek, Eagleville was also recognized as a three-star chapter.
This is the fifth year in a row Eagleville has earned the top honor. The two schools are two of only 17 schools out of 220 with an FFA program in the state of Tennessee to earn the distinction as a three-star chapter in 2020.
Senior Garren Hamby was a national winner in the Agriscience Fair. He won the animal systems category in Division 5, which encompasses individual competitors who are either high school seniors or recently graduated FF members.
Hamby is one of the most accomplished agriculture students in the state.
He is a second generation FFA member — both parents served and were recognized at the state and national level — serves as a Middle Tennessee Regional FFA officer, Eagleville FFA officer, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee recently named Hamby to the State School Board.
He also shows sheep and attends competitive 4-H and FFA events and other agriculture gatherings sponsored by Farm Bureau and similar ag organizations.
As for being a national winner, Eagleville agriculture instructor and FFA advisor Emily Marshall compared Hamby’s national win at the Agriscience Fair to a sports team winning a state championship ring or earning the honor of being selected as Mr. Football.
"It is a goal they have worked toward for a year or longer," Marshall said, "and had to go through multiple levels to make it that far."