It was a record crowd at the annual FFA Banquet on Tuesday, April 22. There were 450 Cardington FFA members, their families and friends dining; a number that broke the record for attendance at an FFA banquet.
The dinner was served from the foyer of the Murphy Gym and diners ate in the gym itself. The dinner was catered by All Occasions Catering, Waldo.
The group moved to the Drouhard auditorium for the program. It was conducted by members of the FFA Chapter, McKenzie Smith, president. Other officers participating included Josh Kill, vice president; Lindsey Gilmore, secretary; Sami Bennett, assistant secretary; Clayton Fisher, treasurer, Morgan Robinson, assistant treasur- er; Esther Elliott, reporter, Khyla Jones, assistant reporter; Mikhal Taha, Sentinel, Cory Slack, student advisor and Drew Shafer, Chaplain.
It was announced by Jones that ten members of the chapter were to receive their state degrees at the convention this month. This is the highest number of students in the history of the Cardington FFA to ever receive this award in one year. Recipients are Kill, Courtney Rader, Nick Fisher, Taylor Diamond, Shelby Harper, C. Fisher, Taha, Brooke Jackson, Gilmore and Kimberlyn Seitz.
Morgan Robinson said there are 325 FFA chapters in the state of Ohio and Cardington is recognized as one of the top 30- chapters in the state. President Smith and Kill had submitted the National Chapter Award and will be recognized at the state convention when the chapter will receive a Gold Medal for the eighth consecutive year.
Robinson said the books of three officers, treasurer Fisher; secretary Gilmore and reporter Elliott, received high scores at the district level and each will receive a gold pin at the convention.
Cade Brannon placed second in the district out of ten applications in the dairy placement area. He is employed with Ken Stauffer and has worked over 900 hours and earned nearly $7,000.
Anne McElwee competed in the accounting award area and was graded on her ability to be accurate. She was the district winner and is now in the top four in the state.
Emily Yake, employed with Stauffer’s Dairy Farm, placed third in the district and will receive a gold medal.
Others receiving high awards were Emily Waters, second in the district in improvement projects who will receive a gold medal; Clayton Fisher, one of the top four students in this area in the Equine Entrepreneurship proficiency; Drew Shafer, one of the top four in the state in fishing and hunting; and McKenzie Smith, who scored high in five different areas and will be in the top four in the state.
American Degree recipients recognized were Tre Plowman (current vice president of the State FFA); Alex Taha, Dani Faust, Anne McElwee, Allison Welty, Cade Bran- non, and Taylor Gilmore.
The chapter sold almost $40,000 worth of fruit and peanuts last Christmas. The top salesman was Lindsey Gilmore who sold $2,242 in fruit and peanuts; Taylor Diamond was second with $1,543 worth of fruit and peanuts; Khyla Jones, selling $1,300; Shelby Harper, $1,375; and Elwood Kennedy, $1,334.
Named honorary members were Heidi Dutt, Eric Kill and Kevin Gilmore.
Dutt, who was unable to be present, was recognized for being a strong supporter of the school’s athletic programs, principally girls’ softball and basketball and for being a behind the scenes supporter of FFA, dealing with the finances, making sure all of the receipts and disbursements were balanced. As a result, the FFA was always in good financial standing. Dutt was employed with the district for 11 years as assistant treasurer before leaving for another career.
Kill has been a strong supporter of the FFA for the past eight years with sons Matt, Josh and Daniel, the latter coming into FFA in the future. Kill has helped with the fall and spring barbecues, donkey basketball games and as a chaperone on FFA trips. He has also assisted with the Made for Excellence program, the State FFA conventio and chaperoning the FFA trips to Florida. This year, his son, Josh, has initiated a water project to raise money to build a well in a third world country and Eric has made many contacts and helped with a website and flyers. The goal is to raise $5,000 to construct a well in another country.
Gilmore has given the FFA nine years of support and dedication. His three daughters were also active in the program. His company purchased nearly $18,000 worth of fruit which he gave to his employees. He has attended the National Convention, State FFA conventions and volunteered to host the annual officers’ Christmas party. He has also helped with the Officer’s Retreat.
During his remarks, Chapter adviser Neil Swonger thanked his parents, Mr. and Mrs. LaMar Swonger from Urbana for their ongoing support through the years.
He also thanked the Board of Education, the administration, Gale Slack and John Brehm for their support.
He made the following awards: The Star Chapter Award: McKenzie Smith; the Outstanding Senior: Josh Kill; Star Greenhand: Nathan Gardner and Libby McConnell, freshmen; Leadership Pins: Nadia Kerman, Andrea DePole, freshmen;
Eli Crum, Travis Davidson, sophomores; Lexia Wilson and Taylor Diamond, juniors; and the Carrie Seagle Award was given to Sami Bennett. Carrie was an active member of the FFA when she was killed on October 27, 1992. Swonger was impressed by her work behind the scenes of the FFA and each year has made an award in her memory to an FFA member whose work with the FFA follows the same pattern as Carrie’s.
Jay Smith representing the Cardington Farm Association and the McGinnis Family, awarded the $1,000 Farm Association scholarship to Emily Waters and the McGinnis scholarships, $1,000 each to Emily Waters and Mitchell Yake
Betty Brandum, FFA Alumni, awarded a $500 scholarship to Josh Kill and a $500 scholarship to McKenzie Smith.
There are 19 seniors in the chapter this year. In addition to those named, the following seniors have been very active with the chapter: Chesney Adams, Kirsten Dever, Tyler Dornon, Briana Ebersole, Danell Hall, Courtney Kimes, Andy Plummer, Mason Rich- ardson, Garrett Rowe and Amanda Shears.
Officers for 2014-2015 are Clayton Fisher, president; Lindsey Gilmore, vice presi-dent; Sami Bennett, Secretary; Courtney Tucker, assistant secretary; Morgan Robinson, treasurer; Johnny Levings, assistant treasurer; Esther Elliott, reporter; Tiara Snyder, assistant reporter; Khyla Jones, Sentinel; Mikhal Taha, student advisor and Katie Haught, chaplain.