James River’s FFA members who competed in the National Convention and Expo last week in Indianapolis.

The dream year for the James River High School FFA Chapter continued as 15 members attended the 90th annual National FFA Convention and Expo October 22-29 in Indianapolis, Ind.

The chapter members and chaperones took Amtrak from Clifton Forge to Indianapolis early last week and returned Sunday afternoon after a week of competitions and activities at the convention that attracted as many as 64,000 FFA members from across the U.S., representing all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

In preparation for the convention, FFA also announced a record membership for the year: 653,359 FFA members, 8,568 FFA chapters and more than 344,000 FFA Alumni members and 2,051 FFA Alumni chapters.

Back home, many in the James River community were keeping up with the chapter’s competitions while watching RFD-TV, which broadcast some of the convention sessions each day.

At the nationals, the James River FFA Chapter was named one of the top 10 FFA programs in the nation through being honored as a Model of Excellence finalist. Additionally, the chapter had 12 students who earned the opportunity to compete at the national level as Virginia’s representatives in their respective Career Development Events (CDE) after becoming state champions at the Virginia FFA Convention this past June. These chapter members returned home with two Gold rated teams and one Silver rated team.

The chapter’s complete results include:

  • The Environmental and Natural Resources Team consisting of Daniel Holter, Skyler Camper, Jeff Bower and Jarrod Hix received a Gold Team rating and placed ninth in the nation. Holter, Camper and Bower also ranked Gold individually and Hix ranked silver.
  • The Poultry Evaluation Team of Davis Fenster, Maddie Cummings, Mason Sowers and Bailey Marshall received a Gold Team rating and also placed ninth in the nation. Fenster, Cummins and Sowers ranked Gold individually and Marshall ranked Silver. Additionally, by placing as one of the top 11 teams in the country, this team has received the opportunity to attend to the International Poultry Expo in early 2018 in Atlanta, Ga. This trip is made possible by Perdue.
  • The Livestock Evaluation Team of Sarah Harris, Mikayla Fay, Tyller Roney and Olivia Gilliam received a Silver Team rating and placed 26th in the nation. Harris received a Gold rating, placed eighth individually, and received a $600 scholarship. Additionally, Fay received a Gold rating, Roney received a Silver rating, and Gilliam received a Bronze rating.

“Our chapter would like to thank everyone who sent us well wishes and prayed for us while we were at the National FFA Convention,” Chapter Advisor Zach Wakeman said. “We know this dream would never be possible without God and the support of our incredible parents, friends, school and community.

“We would also like to say a special thank you to the following individuals for their help leading up to the National FFA Convention and Expo and/or their assistance during the event:”

  • Chapter Delegates— David Cummings, Jacob Fowler and Andrew Newcomb
  • Chaperones— Bobby and Missy Cummings, Mary Lynn Harris, Shari Roney and Jamie Talbott
  • Career Development Event Coaches— Katherine Carter, Richard Furman, Mary Lynn Harris, Tim Miller, Allison Moore and Elizabeth Myer

To learn more about the chapter’s trip to the National FFA Convention and Expo, follow the chapter on social media (James River FFA) or join the chapter members at the Buchanan Theatre on Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. for a convention update and newly released agriculture film “Farmers for America.”