Ethan Carr and Sidney Simmons, incoming seniors at TCHS, both received the second highest honor in FFA, the State Degree, at the 92 Annual FFA State Convention which was held virtually due to COVID-19
By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Two incoming Tucker County seniors, Ethan Carr and Sidney Simmons, were recently recognized by receiving the second highest honor within the Future Farmers of America, the State Degree. Agriculture Teacher and FFA Advisor Delbert “Paul” Pennington stated, “There’s a lot of stuff they had to do.”
In order to be considered, the member must have accomplished the following: an active member for at least two years, complete at least two years of agriculture education at or above the ninth grade level, successfully completed supervised agricultural experience with proper expense and income reports, provide two years of records from ninth grade and beyond, a minimum of 25 hours of community service, and participation in at least five FFA activities above the chapter level. “They (Carr and Simmons) were the only two who even came close to getting in,” stated Pennington.
Carr, who is serving as the 2020-21 Tucker County FFA President, has also served two years as the chapter’s treasurer. He commented, “You had to fill out a pretty lengthy application.” He has raised numerous FFA projects that he showcased at the Tucker County Fair, such as market steers and market hogs. Unfortunately, Carr has decided not to participate in the livestock event taking place with the cancelation of the fair due to the uncertainty of the virus.
In order to reach his community service requirements, not only did Carr work within his chapter projects, but he also assisted in his church, St. George United Methodist Church, and the St. George Days event. When asked what his plans were post graduation, Carr was unsure which path he would take, though stated, “I just want to focus on this year first.”
Simmons, the 2020-21 Vice President, has also held the offices of reporter once and chaplain twice. In order to meet her expenses and income requirements, she too has raised livestock and shown them at the Tucker County Fair. “I raised market steers, feeder steers, market hogs, and chickens,” Simmons explained. Even with the fair canceled this year, she will be exhibiting her animals and selling them at the youth livestock events.. In addition to participating in all available FFA activities, Simmons helped with the food pantry, Music in the Park hosted by the City of Parsons, the Parsons Christmas Parades, and assisted at her churches, Hambleton United Methodist Church and Hendricks Free Methodist Church.
When Simmons was asked if she planned to continue working towards her American Degree, she responded, “That’s the goal,” and has already begun working towards it. Upon graduation, she said, “I hope to get into college and go into pre-vet.” Simmons added, “I wouldn’t have gotten my state degree if it weren’t for my past Ag teachers and my dad.”
In a typical year, Carr and Simmons would have been recognized at the 92 Annual State FFA Convention held at Cedar Lakes, but the event was canceled due to COVID-19. The W.Va. Regional Officers put together a virtual convention that was posted on Facebook that recognized all of the State Degree Recipients. An executive committee chose a total of 196 candidates to receive this degree. Photographs were submitted to showcase each one of these members who have worked hard to surpass the Greenhand and Chapter FFA Degrees, and be awarded the states top honor.
To be eligible for consideration of the American Degree, the candidate must have earned their State Degree, been active for the previous three years, meet educational criteria, have graduated high school at least 12 months prior to the National Convention, have maintained their SAE earning at least $10,000 with at least $7,500 expenses, or earned and productively invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of class time, maintained at least a 2.0 grade point average, and at least 50 hours of community service.