Garden Spot FFA travels to state capital for midwinter convention

Cheers To New Beginnings

On January 10, 2021, Garden Spot FFA members took a trip to Harrisburg, PA for the Pennsylvania FFA Midwinter Convention. Mid-Winter Convention is a state event held at the Pennsylvania Farm Show to recognize those who have received scholarships, awards, and degrees.

Department of Agriculture Secretary Russell C. Redding spoke at the beginning of the convention mentioning what it means to the Department of Agriculture for the work and dedication being brought from FFA. Remarks were also given by Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Noe Ortega.


The auctioneering contest is new to the Farm Show this year and Garden Spot FFA member Jaclyn Martin placed 2nd at this event! During the auctioneering contest, contestants had to take a written exam and a practice sale. The contestants were judged on their clarity, appearance, and voice control. Jaclyn won $100.00 and she enjoyed spending time with her brother who taught her what she knows about being an auctioneer!

We watched a sea of white shirts turn to blue corduroy as the first-year FFA members tried on their jackets for the very first time. The Pennsylvania FFA Alumni sponsors the first-year jacket scholarships. 432 members received their jackets. 

Congratulations to the Garden Spot FFA Jacket recipients: Sarah Firestone, Seth Ronnenburger, Owen Keener, and Owen Williams. The Garden Spot FFA Alumni & Friends sponsored additional jackets to first-year members Ava Immel, Brianna Shaffer, and Jonathan Conrad.

Receiving the state Keystone degree is one of the most precious moments a member of the Pennsylvania FFA will have. The Keystone degree is the highest award a Pennsylvania FFA member can receive. Members are evaluated on their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects, FFA involvement, and community service. To receive this award, students must productively invest $1,000 or 300 hours towards their SAE and participate in 25 hours of community service, among other requirements. Garden Spot FFA had three Keystone Degree Recipients: Kyra Benner, Melanie Cox, and Owen Risser.


Kyra’s SAE was based around her Market Dairy Beef Steer project.. She raised the calf to a steer that she exhibited and sold at the West Lampeter Community Fair. FFA has helped her throughout high school because it took her out of her comfort zone and showed her responsibility. She was taught leadership as the 2020-2021 Historian and planned events that benefited the community.

Melanie’s SAE is training her horses. She competes in rodeo and is currently training her mare Maisy. FFA has shaped her by teaching her to embrace who she is while increasing her responsibility skills as she is the 2021-2022 Reporter.

Owen’s SAE is Maintenance Technician for his family business, Risser Grain. FFA has given Owen experiences and opportunities that helped him develop his career plans and his future.

Pennsylvania FFA selected their 2022 National Officer Candidate at the Mid-Winter FFA Convention. Coming from Lancaster County, Jessica Herr will be representing Pennsylvania and the Garden Spot FFA as the National Officer Candidate! Jess will compete at the 2022 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.

This was a heartfelt day for the Garden Spot FFA, with three members opening new doors and opportunities with their jackets, three members earning high honors with their Keystone degree, and an Alumni representing her state as the National Officer Candidate for Pennsylvania for 2022! 

By Melanie Cox, Garden Spot FFA Reporter

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