Switzerland County FFA chapter earns top honors at annual state convention at Purdue


The Switzerland County FFA chapter attended the annual State Convention held last week at Purdue University, and again the local chapter brought home many individual and group awards.

Here’s a rundown of the honors that the group earned:


Senior Beth Abbott will be serving as the District 12 President for 2008-09. She will serve on the State Executive Committee, organize state fair workdays for the district, plan district kickoff meeting, serve as a camp counselor, and carry out the district leadership contest which will be held in March at Switzerland County High School, with 12 schools competing.


Corey Lay, a senior at Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Aquaculture and Specialty Crop proficiency areas.

The Agricultural Proficiency Awards program helps students set goals and learn practical skills. The program rewards FFA members at the local, state and national levels for exceptional accomplishments and excellence in a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program. Awards are available to all FFA members enrolled in high school agriculture, including special needs students. There are 47 award areas.

Corey Lay received the award during the 79th Indiana FFA State Convention at Purdue University.

Corey Lay also earned the Indiana FFA Agriscience Scholarship at the state convention.

Agriscience education is intended to enhance the image of agriculture by portraying to students that agriculture includes many careers that are not solely agricultural production or business-oriented. Such careers require a strong background in the biological and physical sciences – fiber technologist, water resource manager, plant geneticist, biochemist, etc.

Daniel Welch, a 2008 graduate of Switzerland County High School, earned the Indiana FFA State License Plate Scholarship at this year’s state convention.


The Switzerland County FFA chapter competed with the other 10 schools in the district at South Decatur High School. The chapter captured several first place finishes in public speaking, interviews, proficiencies, and group presentations.

Winners included:

– Emilee Waldron, first in the Female Ambassador Interview; Amanda Hale, first in Job Interview; Julie Furnish, first in Freshman Public Speaking; Jamie Phipps, first in Extemporaneous Public Speaking; Jessie Ray, first in Freshman Extemporaneous Public Speaking; Beth Abbott, Jamie Phipps, Amanda Hale and Daniel Welch first in Ag Communications; Corey Lay, first in Aquaculture and Specialty Crop Proficiency; Kaleesa Archer, first in Beef Proficiency; Brandon Otter, first in Agriculture Education Proficiency; Somer Alford, first in Equine Science; Jamie Phipps, first in Agriculture Communication Proficiency; and 2007 winners competing in 2008 advancing are: April Thieman, Diversified Livestock; and Devon Armstrong; Turf/Landscape Management.

– Ag Issues Team; third place Courtney Cole, Brittney Allen and Daniel Welch; Ag Mech Demonstration, Corey Lay and Justin Reagan; Creed, Andrea Brogan; Discovery demonstration Kelsey Duvall; Discovery Public Speaking; Beth Abbott, second in Food Science Demonstration; Justin Reagan and Corey Lay, second in Conservation Demonstration; Emily Lanman and Jamie Phipps, third in Exhibit/Multimedia; Quiz Bowl; Kayla Keith, Angela Swanson, Shea Dickerson, and Jessie Ray; and Laci Daugherty, third in talent.

– Other proficiency applications competing well include: Jon Radar; Ag Processing; Justin Reagan, Home and Community development; Clay Meyer, Dairy production; Katie Hall, Small Animal Care.


The purpose of the National Chapter Award program is to encourage chapters to develop and Use a POA. The key to a chapter’s success is to plan its activities and then carry out that plan. The FFA rewards chapters for their accomplishments through the chapter award program. Chapters can apply for awards using the same committees and standards they use in their program Of activities.

The award application consists of three parts: Form I, Form II and Form III. Every chapter that Meets the minimum quality standards and completes Form I will qualify as a State Superior Chapter. To do this, chapters need to conduct one activity related to each quality standard.

Chapters receive a Superior Chapter certificate each year they achieve this level.

To compete for state Gold, Silver or Bronze awards, chapters must qualify for a Superior Chapter Award and complete Form II. Chapters use Form II to report goals/objectives, plans of action and Results/evaluation on three activities for each division. State judges rank the chapters as Gold, Silver or Bronze. Chapters receive a multi-year plaque and yearly plaque spurs specifying the level Achieved each year.

The chapter was selected as a “Models of Innovation Chapter” based upon the competition of the award application based on the goals/objectives, plan of action and results of the goals set to achieve. The chapter will submit the national application to national by July 5th. The national scoring will be conducted in August where the top 10-percent programs from across the nation will be competing for national honors.


Switzerland County had six State Degree recipients based on record keeping and leadership. Those students honored included: Beth Abbott, Somer Alford, Corey Lay, Justin Reagan, April Thieman, and Emilee Waldron.


For students who ask their teachers, “When will I ever use this in the real world?” Career Development Events (CDEs) are the answer. Since 1928, FFA has worked to create CDEs that demonstrate the meaningful connections between classroom instruction and real-life scenarios. CDEs build on what is learned in agricultural classes and the FFA.

The events are designed to help prepare students for careers in agriculture. Classroom instruction comes alive as students demonstrate their skills in a competitive setting. CDEs test the abilities of individuals and teams in 23 major areas of agricultural instruction. The contests range from Agricultural Communications to Wildlife and from Extemporaneous Public Speaking to Job Interview.

– Jamie Phipps, Beth Abbott, and Tabitha Arnoldy earned top honors in the Agriculture Communication Career Development.

– Jamie Phipps, Daniel Welch, Beth Abbott, and Tabitha Arnoldy earned top honors in the Agriculture Marketing Career Development.

– Jamie Phipps, a junior at Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Extemporaneous Public Speaking Career Development.

– Jessie Ray, a sophomore at Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Freshman Extemporaneous Public Speaking Career Development.

– Emilee Waldron, a 2008 graduate of Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the female leadership ambassador Career Development.

– Brandon Otter, a 2008 graduate of Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Agriculture Education proficiency area.

– Julie Furnish, a sophomore at Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Freshman Prepared Public Speaking Career Development.

– Somer Alford, a senior at Switzerland County High School, earned top honors in the Equine proficiency area.


The Switzerland County FFA chapter earned first place in the project impact community service award area. The purpose of project impact is to promote a chapter’s participation in local community events as well as to encourage volunteerism. The Switzerland County FFA chapter participates in many community service projects during the year including food drive for the community, Veterans Day program, community decorations, and volunteerism projects.