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Three Chatham Central teams successful in State FFA competitions

Posted Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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Bear Creek, NC - Chatham Central High School had three teams of students that competed in the 2009 FFA career development events during the 81st annual North Carolina FFA convention in Raleigh held June 23-25. The results were announced on Thursday morning, June 25, during the fifth general session. The Chatham Central agricultural tools and mechanics team won the state competition. The Central floriculture and nursery/ landscape teams placed second in the state. Julian Smith, horticulture teacher at Chatham Central, coached all three teams.

“The purpose of the Agricultural Tools and Materials Identification Career Development event is to stimulate interest, knowledge, and understanding of the various tools used in the agricultural industry,” says Jason Davis, State FFA Coordinator for North Carolina. The participants were asked to identify forty tools from a list of over 150 and took a knowledge test in which they matched the proper use with the tool.

Members of the winning Chatham Central tools and mechanics team were Craig Dunn, Amber Fields, Cam Fields, and Kevin Foushee. Fields and Foushee were among the top scoring individuals, and Chatham Central was the only team to have two top individuals on the same team. The competition is only a state level one so the team will not compete at the national FFA convention in the fall.

Participants in the floriculture event must demonstrate their problem solving and technical skills, identify plant materials, and complete a general knowledge exam on the floral industry. The Chatham Central floriculture team members were John Bartee, Will Bartee, Taylor Craig, and Debbie Russell.

The nursery-landscape event tests students’ skills by asking them to identify common plants and complete a written test covering general knowledge of horticulture. Participants also compete in many hands-on activities, which include landscape drawing, nursery operation practices, and customer relations. The Chatham Central nursery-landscape team members were Garett Barker, Josh Brooks, Justin Johnson, and Jessica Loflin.

On Wednesday evening, June 24, during the fourth general session of the convention, several other awards and honors were presented. Chatham Central High School had multiple connections to those recognized.

Kara Miller, a state FFA vice president and 2008 Chatham Central graduate, recognized Smith and Principal Mitch Stensland onstage for their influence on her as a student. Each state officer also introduced his or her family to those in attendance.

Holland and Alan Gaines, brothers and Chatham Central graduates, received the Premier Partner Award for a 10+ acre site The Legacy at Jordan Lake gave to North Carolina State University and the North Carolina FFA Foundation for an open-air classroom. The gift is the largest ever received by the NC FFA Foundation.

The Legacy at Jordan Lake also sponsors an endowment for three scholarships and three, eight-week summer internships for seniors from high schools in Chatham County Schools. The Gaines recognized the 2009 scholarship recipients and interns during the fourth general session of the FFA convention. Christian Herrera, a Jordan-Matthews graduate, received the Business and Entrepreneurship scholarship. Paul Drumheller, a Jordan-Matthews graduate, received the Holland and Elsie Gaines God and Community Scholarship. Jessica Loflin, a Chatham Central graduate and member of the Central nursery-landscape FFA team, was the recipient of the Outstanding FFA Student at Chatham Central scholarship.

James Langdon, Jr. received a Lifetime Achievement Award on Thursday evening. Tolson began his career as a teacher at Chatham Central High School in 1960. He later became the Director of Career-Technical Education for Johnston County Schools and is currently a member of the North Carolina House of Representatives.

The North Carolina FFA is a youth organization of over 17,400 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture with nearly 250 local chapters across the state. 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. Visit for more information.

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