Even though local, state, and national high school events and competitions have been put on temporary hold or cancelled, this does not mean that students, teachers, and club/organization sponsors are not actively working in their fields of choice. This is certainly apparent when it comes to the Future Farmers of America and definitely the Benson High School chapter.
With 80 school chapters (71 publics, 8 charter, and one parochial), 114 advisors, and over 10,000 members, the Arizona FFA has not put their responsibilities on hold. Even though students and advisers are not able to directly connect in person due to the Arizona school closures and social distancing policies in relation to Covid-19, some things must go on. In this case, FFA members are still immensely involved in the care and maintenance of their plants and animals, their family ranches and farms, and their ongoing FFA projects.
Consider the enormity of the 8,612 FFA chapters in the 50 United States (including Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands) that have over 700,000 members ages 12-21 from 7th through 12th grades and college who are still involved in their activities, still keeping the motto of the FFA “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” alive through the times of state and national school Covid-19 related closures. Advisors and members, many whose families, like them, were FFA members, still keeping attentive to their farms, ranches, plants, animals, and beliefs because it is necessary – necessary for their good, the good of our state and country, and the good of the FFA.
Arizona was one state that barely made it through their FFA state competitions before schools, sports, and all school activities were temporarily (then permanently) cancelled for the 2019-20 school year. Held at the end of February in Tucson, Arizona state FFA chapters met for their State Spring CDE (Career Development Events) Conference and competed with no knowledge of what was soon to come and the cancellation of the years’ future state and national conferences. Team places for Benson in the state CDE competition were: Ag Mechanics 8th place, Ag Sales 5th place, Aquaculture 5th place, Entomology 3rd place, Livestock Evaluation 10th place, and Wildlife 13th place.
The Benson FFA chapter is currently in its 84th year with 67 active high school members, many whose parents and family members were or are currently FFA members. Their advisor, Benson High School alumni Jessica Zamudio, is a former high school FFA member as were many of her family members including her father Gilbert Zamudio – retired Benson High School AG teacher and FFA advisor. The roots of FFA definitely go deep.
Prior to the school closures, many Benson High School FFA members had earned state and national awards. These awards/honors include (note that the American Degree is one of the highest FFA honors and is given to less than 1% of its members who have graduated less than 12 months prior to earning the distinction):
Brett Miller (2019 graduate) FFA American Degree
Garrett Roberts (2019 graduate) FFA American Degree
Reeve Stretch (2019 graduate) FFA American Degree
Ila Barker (current junior) FFA state degree
Kolby Barney (2020 graduate) FFA state degree
Sophia Bergh (current junior) FFA state degree
Cheyenne Meier (2020 graduate) FFA state degree
Leah Tyra (2020 graduate) FFA state degree
Sophia Bergh (current junior) proficiency award goat production
Cheyenne Meier (2020 graduate) proficiency award equine science
Garrett Roberts (2019 graduate) proficiency award ag mechanics (welding, design, and fabrication)
Garrett Roberts (2019 graduate) proficiency award ag mechanics (repair and maintenance)
Cheyenne Meier (2020 graduate) national FFA scholarship award winner
Sophia Bergh (current junior) Arizona FFA state choir member
Benson High School FFA Chapter – State Silver Chapter Award
Many of the events the Benson FFA chapter participates in would not be possible without the support of the school, the FFA families, the community, and past FFA members who so graciously give their time and experience to help make the future of FFA as solid as it is today.
“We are honored to have such amazing support from our former FFA members, our members’ families, and our community,” Jessica Zamudio said. “FFA has always had a strong tradition which is definitely evident in Benson.”
FFA statistics from ffa.org