By JO ANN HUSTIS
SENECA, Ill. — Seneca Township High School’s FFA Chapter is continuing its annual winning streak by capturing two top proficiency awards at the recent 2012 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind.
The awards recognize FFA members who excel as agriculture entrepreneurs, employees or volunteers, while gaining hand-on career experience. Seneca FFA Chapter Advisor Jeff Maierhofer noted that hard work, accounting ability and communication skills paid off in a big way at the convention for members Nick Briscoe and Austin Granby.
Briscoe was named the proficiency award winner, and Granby a runner-up. Both received a substantial monetary award. Granby also won a trip to Costa Rica.
A student at Drake University and the son of Robert and Ruth Briscoe of Mazon, Ill., Briscoe’s program was based on his employment at Agri-Tile Farm Drainage and Prairie Creek Grain Co.
The president of Section 7 FFA, Granby manages his own enterprise at Granby Greenhouse Co. He is the son of Gary Granby of Verona and Alise Marques, also of Mazon.
The answer to how the Seneca FFA Chapter maintains its high level of achievement, year after year, is not a simple one, Maierhofer said. “It’s a whole lot of people working together for common goals for our students, school and community,” he pointed out.
“It starts with students who have a desire for success now and in their futures and are committed to making themselves and their communities better. Add some parents who encourage success and are willing to make extra effort to help their children, then throw in some alumni who are involved with helping with projects, applications and improving interviewing skills.”
The answer resides within a supportive school system, school board, administration and other faculty members who appreciate the Agricultural Education Program and the FFA organization, he added. Also, FFA advisors play a role in making the time and effort to ensure applications and presentations are correctly completed on time and in accordance with scoring rubrics.
“FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education,” Maierhofer noted.