Orion FFA receives highest award

Amelia Martens
Orion FFA members attending Ag Legislative Day on Thursday, March 6, include, from left, Melissa Fielding, Rachel Engnell, Cassie Catlett, Amelia Martens, Alex Samuelson, Josh Belton and Tyler Patton. On that day, FFA members from all over Illinois gathered at the state capitol in Springfield to hand out baskets of agricultural goodies to thank legislators for supporting agricultural programs.

Out of more than 600 FFA chapters, the National FFA Organization selected the Orion FFA Chapter as a three-star winner in the National FFA Chapter Award Program.

Orion advanced to the National Competition for the award after they were selected as one of the top 30 FFA chapters in the state of Illinois, at the state FFA Convention in early June.

Toyota sponsors the award program as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

Orion was recognized for developing and conducting a comprehensive Program of Activities (POA). The Program of Activities consists of three areas in which students can excel, including student, chapter, and community development.

Every year the chapter has been recognized with either a one or two-star rating on their application. But this was the first time that the Orion FFA Chapter ever received the three-star rating, the highest ranking that an FFA chapter can receive.

Orion FFA advisor Jay Solomonson said, “I am extremely proud of our FFA members. This is the first time that our members have ever received this prestigious award.”

Solomonson also credited the chapter’s success to the 2007-2008 officer team.

“The officer team did an excellent job this past year, and they’re very deserving of the award,” he commented.

2007-2008 Orion FFA Chapter President Tyler Patton, who is now a student at Western Illinois University in Macomb, was very excited to get word of the chapter’s achievement.

“I’m very proud of the chapter for all of their hard work. It really paid off,” he said in a telephone interview.

The award will be presented to Orion FFA members at the 81st National FFA Convention, which will be held from Wednesday, Oct. 22, through Saturday, Oct. 25, in Indianapolis, Ind.