Johnstown Independent

Local grads to receive highest FFA degree

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The Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school districts will be represented at the 2013 National FFA Convention & Expo that runs Oct. 30-Nov. 2 in Louisville, Ky.

Johnstown-Monroe 2012 graduates Elisa Higgins, Christine Snowden and Brooke Ison and Northridge graduate Tailer Hensley will receive the American FFA Degree, the highest degree awarded by the National FFA Organization.

Duane Brodt, FFA media-relations manager, said the American FFA Degree is awarded to a select group of FFA members in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence.

The award recognizes a 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 also must complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement.

In addition to recognizing the American FFA Degree recipients, career development events are held through competitions at the convention.

Johnstown High School's Travis Higgins will participate in those contests.

More than 56,000 FFA members from throughout the United States are expected to attend the convention that begins the first of its three-year run in Louisville.

Convention events will be held at several venues in downtown Louisville, in city suburbs and beyond. Nine general sessions through Saturday, Nov. 2, will bring thousands of FFA members together at the Kentucky Exposition Center. Students will have several opportunities to engage exhibitors from more than 450 corporations, organizations and colleges during the expo.

"Ignite" is the theme of this year's convention.

"We face incredible challenges in feeding our world and keeping agriculture in the spotlight," National FFA president Clay Sapp said in a press release. "We are the generation charged with finding solutions to dilemmas that we face today and will face in the future. We must ignite positive leadership, personal growth and career success through FFA to develop ourselves and exert and influence."

On Wednesday, Oct. 30, University of Louisville men's basketball coach Rick Pitino will be the headline speaker at the convention's opening session.

New York City firefighter and 9/11 survivor Joe Torrillo on Nov. 1 will deliver a message focused on dreaming big and patriotism.

Also on Nov. 1, amputee-turned-U.S. Paralympic Ski Team member Josh Sundquist will explain how he overcame a rare form of bone cancer through optimism and determination.

Throughout the week, students will attend leadership and personal growth workshops.

FFA members will tour industry destinations, including the Papa John's international headquarters, Ford's Louisville assembly plant, University of Kentucky and the Valhalla Golf Club. They'll also tour several educational destinations, including Fort Knox, Kentucky Derby Museum, Louisville Zoo and the Muhammad Ali Center.

For the first time, the National FFA Organization is offering a virtual convention to FFA members throughout the country who aren't able to attend the event.

The virtual convention will allow FFA members to watch general sessions and keynote speakers' addresses live, interact with expo exhibitors, participate in student workshops and connect with other FFA chapters to discuss convention events and activities.

For more information about the virtual convention and expo, visit FFA.org/Convention.

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