ANDERSON — Five MCHS students received their state diplomas, the highest diploma offered to Future Farmers of America high school students, at the Missouri State Convention in late April.
Emily Hutton, a professor of agriculture at MCHS, said she took 27 students to the state’s annual convention, only five of whom received their state diploma. Hutton said the state diploma is the highest degree a student can receive, and one that takes a lot of work before convention.
“There’s a list of qualifications they have to meet,” Hutton said. “They must have been a member for three years, a member in good standing. They must have invested, earned and productively invested, $1,000 or worked at least 300 hours outside of school hours that have been recorded in their record. They must do 25 hours of community service, and they must have attended at least five FFA events above the local level.”
Hutton said students receiving their state diploma must keep track of their work each year, by keeping a ledger and an Excel sheet.
“They learned about record keeping,” Hutton said. “It’s not an easy application. It’s a six-page excel sheet that they have to fill in where they have to explain how their job is related to agriculture, they have to list all their FFA events, and it has to be written correctly, so there’s a lot of detail and you have to learn to stick to it, even when frustrated.”
Zoe Parish, a senior, said she attended the three-day convention for the first time this year. Parish said she started working towards getting her state diploma in her freshman year.
Parish said one of the skills she learned working on her state degree was record keeping.
“I had to keep a record book,” Parish said. “For mine, I had calves, so if you had your own heifer to start with, and she had babies, you have to keep track of how many, what it was, and all the fun things that go with it. .”
Parish said students can keep a record related to their specific interests, thereby diversifying records among students.
Parish said it would be bittersweet to leave Hutton’s class, noting that the class helped her “come out of her shell” as a student.
“It helped me find people who look like me,” Parish said, noting that she found her high school community and it would be hard to say goodbye.
Madison Greider, a senior, said she attended the state convention as a team member in her event and received her state diploma.
Greider said being part of FFA was instrumental in her high school career, noting that she has been involved with FFA for four years.
“FFA had a really big impact, just having Ms. Hutton for the four years,” Greider said. “It’s the one thing I’m sad to leave. It’s like a big family, for sure, it’s a lot of fun. It makes you want to come to school,” Greider said, looking at Hutton .
Greider said she was happy to be involved in the FFA, noting it was one of the highlights of her high school career.
Jackson Brewer, a senior, said to get his state diploma, he had to get green hand and area diplomas before the convention. Brewer said that after getting his initial degrees, he needed to be organized and log his hours in his log.
Brewer said his involvement in the FFA was instrumental in his high school career.
“The FFA program gave me a group in high school to be part of,” Brewer said. “It also helped prepare me for life and made me the person I am today.”
Brewer said getting his state diploma was a goal he had set for himself since he was a freshman. Brewer added that he plans to graduate as an American farmer, which he can work towards as a student.
Brewer said Emily Hutton and Shawn McAlister encouraged and helped him along the way, and he wouldn’t have gotten this far without their support.
“I owe them a lot,” Brewer said. “And I will always do my best to be a good representative of the McDonald County FFA program, even after I graduate.”
Hutton said she was proud of her students and knew they would go on to do great things after graduating from McDonald County High School.