By JO ANN HUSTIS
SENECA, Ill. — Two seniors in Seneca Township High School’s FFA Chapter are eagerly looking forward to the annual National FFA Convention in Indianapolis later this month, and the opportunity to land an all-expense paid agriculture trip to Costa Rica next summer.
Nick Briscoe of Mazon and Austin Granby of Verona, Ill., will attend the 85th National Convention and Expo as national finalists for the National FFA Agricultural Proficiency Awards.
“This is a big deal,” Seneca Chapter Advisor Jeff Maierhofer noted. “This is the national finals for something these FFA members have worked five years to get to. We are especially proud to have two national finalists representing Seneca High School.”
Briscoe is a finalist for the Agricultural Services and Entrepreneurship/ Placement Award, and Granby, for the Agricultural Sales and Entrepreneurship Award.
Nationwide, only 196 FFA members have been chosen to compete for the two awards at the national finals. The four-day National FFA Convention begins Oct. 24.
The Agricultural Proficiency awards honor FFA members who, through their supervised agricultural experiences, developed specialized skills they can apply toward their future careers. The awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agribusiness through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience.
Granby and Briscoe became eligible for the national awards after winning the Illinois State FFA competition earlier this year. Each of the four national finalists will receive a plaque and $500. The two national award winners will each receive an additional $500 in a special ceremony at the National FFA Convention.
Both Briscoe and Granby also qualify to interview for the all-expense paid agriculture tour of Costa Rica.
The Agricultural Services Entrepreneurship/Placement and the Agriculture Sales Entrepreneurship are two of 49 proficiency program areas, in which FFA members can participate to develop valuable experience and leadership skills at the local, state and national levels. The Placement Award is sponsored by TransCanada, and the Sales and Entrepreneurship Award, by Crop Production Services, as special projects of the National FFA Foundation.