Members of the Appomattox County High School’s chapter of the FFA were recognized as State FFA Proficiency Award winners at a recent annual awards ceremony.

The seven high school students, Caylan Moore, Damion Clark, Jacob Johnson, Jamont’a Hubbard, Jared Morgan, Kelly Price and Noelle Lutes, each won first place in their area of proficiency. All seven of them received plaques and cash awards.

In addition to the students’ individual awards, two of the members, Johnson and Price, set a precedent for the Appomattox County High School’s chapter when they were each named as national finalists, a first for Appomattox County FFA

The pair will travel to Indianapolis &tstr; the venue for the 92nd FFA National Convention &tstr; where they will have the opportunity to compete, alongside finalists from other states, for national level recognition and awards.

The good news does not stop there, though.

Johnson and Price will not be alone when they attend and compete at the FFA National Convention.

In fact, they will have plenty of home team support from the chapter’s members.

A 20-member delegation of chapter members will attend the convention as representatives of the whole for the Appomattox FFA chapter to accept the official recognition of FFAs on the national stage for belonging to the top 4% of FFA local chapters in the nation.

The chapter received this near-perfect ranking after teams from the Appomattox Senior Chapter attended a Career Development Event in June and returned home, carrying with them the spoils of the four-person team, made up of members Damara Dixon, Courtney Davis, Courtney Thompson and Jenna St. John, who competed and won third-place in state veterinary science.

Due to the nature of the proficiency program, as it is explained on the FFA website, the CDE competition results would seem to serve as a progress report for those members that compete in them.

Another team from the Appomattox chapter received a gold rating in public relations and also won the Southeast Area Chapter Forestry and Wildlife Award, according to the chapter’s social media account.

Recognition of, and being honored for, this elite position in the ranking of FFA chapters by the national convention is another “first time ever” occurrence for the chapter. It came to be in June when the Appomattox Senior FFA Chapter won a gold star rating in the Superior Chapter Contest awards. The star awards are given to the chapters that best implement and maintain outstanding FFA programs.

FFA Proficiency Award Programs are designed to “honor FFA members who, through supervised agricultural experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers,” an FFA website dedicated to the program explained.

Proficiency awards are given at national, state and local levels and students can compete in 50 different areas listed under four categories: entrepreneurship, placement, combined and agriscience research. Areas of proficiency are distributed among these categories.

Edward McCann Jr., agriculture teacher at Appomattox County High School is pleased “beyond words” with his students and the opportunity to attend the National Convention that all of their hard work has earned.

McCann is in charge of the “land lab,” a 30-acre farm that, in the Appomattox Chapter’s case, is owned by the chapter’s alumni board of directors. Surrounding the land lab, which serves as the center for learning in the agriculture program, are a like number and type of satellite courses, such as horticulture, agriculture mechanics and more.

McCann said that the horticulture class would be offering up an excellent variety of fall flowers and other plants for sale to the public.

Public plant sales have become an excellent way for area FFA programs to maintain a positive balance for each program’s operating or incidental funds.