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State’s top FFA making trip to Macon

Members of the high school’s FFA chapter got on the road this morning headed to middle Georgia as regional winners.
Now they are taking the next step to state at the 86th Georgia FFA Convention May 1-3 in Macon.
With the state convention themed “ignite Leadership. Growth. Success,” the winners from Georgia would advance to the National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
The Screven County High School chapter has six members participating as individuals and the overall chapter is the Georgia FFA State National Chapter Application winner for our Program of Activities.
Screven County High School was an Area 4 Georgia Gold winner and the state winner. SCHS was one of  six schools to earn Gold in Area 4. Only four in Area 3 earned Gold.
Among the schools SCHS topped for the overall state honor was Southeast Bulloch High School which also earned Gold. Effingham County High School and Jenkins County High School were Silver winners, while Statesboro received Bronze.
Nancy Sell, a SCHS FFA advisor, said the National FFA Chapter Award program recognizes FFA chapters for developing and conducting a detailed Program of Activities.
“Each activity provides opportunities for members to excel in one of three areas: student, chapter, or community development,” Sell said. “Every year, chapters are recognized as having earned a Gold, Silver or Bronze rating on their application.”
Screven County FFA members won 3 out of the 4 STAR awards for the region and four students were named regional winners in their respective proficiency areas.
Sell said the students must interview at state to determine the Georgia winner and who will head to nationals for the proficiencies.
“The fact that our chapter had three students named STARS for the Central Region is a pretty big deal,” Sell said.

Zachary Weaver earned the Central Region STAR Farmer honor and was the winner of the Central Region Proficiency in Diversified Livestock Production Entrepreneurship.
Stuart Dehoff captured the Central Region STAR in Agribusiness and was the winner of the Central Region Proficiency in Wildlife Management.
James Woods claimed the Central Region STAR in Agricultural Placement and was the Central Region Proficiency winner in Beef Production Placement.
Andrea Simmons was the winner of the Central Region Proficiency in Goat Production.
Matt Dylan Thompson also will croon on the main stage for the State Convention Talent. Thompson was one of the band/chorus/talent participants at national last year.
Additionally, Stephen Thompson will compete in the State FFA Creed Speaking Contest.
For Diversified Livestock Production, Weaver will compete against Matthew Crumley of Tift County and Timothy Hubbard of Gordon Central.
Weaver has raised beef cattle, lambs, goats and pigs for this multiple species production honor. A major part of proficiency is the logging in of all expense receipts and daily accounts which, Weaver said, has been done on an iPad.
“Through this, I have learned responsibility and hard work which has led me to be the person I have become,” Weaver said. “I strive to be the best.”
Weaver, the SCHS Class of 2014 valedictorian and STAR Student, said he plans to attend the University of Georgia to become a large animal veterinarian.
As for Wildlife Management, Dehoff will face Hunter Faulk of Tift County and Cole Sosebee of White County.
Dehoff has raised more than 10,000 Bobwhite quail that he has sold to wildlife plantations in Georgia and surrounding states. He keeps the quail for 16 weeks and then they are ready to be sold.
Additionally, he opened a hunting preserve on 100-plus acres near Antioch Church Road where he provides guided quail hunts.
He said his family is outdoors quite often.
“This kind of chose me,” Dehoff said of wildlife management.
Dehoff plans to enroll at the Tulsa Welding School in Jacksonville, Fla., after his high school graduation later this month.

Simmons will compete against Briane Parrish of Colquitt County and Addie Thomason of Franklin County in Goat Production.
She has been working on her proficiency since seventh grade. The SCHS senior said she has learned how to manage large numbers of goats at one time and how to artificially inseminate livestock.
“It depends on the weather on the crops,” Simmons said of how fertilizer and feed prices have differed over the years during her proficiency project. “The greatest skill I have learned is time management. You have to do so many things in one day with goats.”
Simmons plans to major in animal science to either become an agriculture teacher or animal veterinarian. She will attend Georgia Southern and then transfer to the University of Georgia.
In Beef Production, Woods will face Jaimee Lea Burt of Colquitt County and Perry Marlowe of Apalachee.
Woods has worked on Lindy Sheppard’s farm since 2012 with cows, baled hay, and administered shots and vaccines.
Woods plans to study diversified agriculture or animal science and then move out West to raise livestock.
With his country/Southern rock/gospel background, Matt Dylan Thompson will compete against approximately a dozen in the FFA state music category. With the assistance of teacher Brandon Jones, Thompson sent in three recorded musical selections and the lyrics.
Matt Dylan Thompson will audition for the judges and then will sing in front of FFA members who have gathered at the state convention.
In the state creed speaking contest, Stephen Thompson will first need to recite the five-paragraph, 259-word creed accurately. The FFA creed is a statement of beliefs about agriculture.
The creed competition is for students in grades six through nine. After the students recite the creed, the judges may ask questions of them about their personal creed beliefs and thoughts.
“In the creed, there are themes – agriculture, of course, leadership and hard work,” said Stephen Thompson, a SCHS freshman.
The creed was originally written by E. M. Tiffany and adopted at the third FFA national convention. It would be revised at the 38th convention and the 63rd convention.
The Georgia FFA Association is the third largest state association of the National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, with more than 35,000 FFA members in 285 chapters. Our mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.