Washington High hosts regional FFA conference

Published 6:13 pm Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Almost 300 people gathered at Washington High School on Tuesday for the 2017 Future Farmers of America Northeast Regional Conference.

Thirty teachers and 250 students representing 15 counties participated in discussion workshops and team-building activities, rotating through classrooms and learning about what FFA has to offer. There are a total of 18 counties in the northeast region.

“This is the first time we have hosted the conference,” said Eric Godwin, Ag teacher and FFA adviser at Washington High. “This conference is extremely important to this region because it provides a chance for first-year FFA members to get their feet wet and learn more about what FFA has to offer. It also gives the experienced FFA members a chance to enhance their leadership, communication and collaboration skills.”

Godwin added that exercising those particular skills is important for students who may be pursuing a job in this agriculture-rich area.

Missy Swain, FFA regional adviser, said preparations for Tuesday’s conference began about two months ago. She said the FFA officers selected a Disney theme for this year while participating in a training program at the University of Mount Olive.

Washington High was selected to host the conference because of its central location, which made it easier for more schools to be able to travel there, according to Swain.

“Each workshop was based on a Disney movie, and the workshop tied to the main idea of the movie that was chosen for each event,” Swain explained.

Workshops for freshmen students followed themes for “Moana,” “Finding Nemo” and “Inside Out.” Swain said these workshops exposed new students to the opportunities available with FFA.

“Chapter officers and leaders attended ‘Cars’ and focused on how teamwork and leadership are important when working with the officer team. ‘Monsters University’ was our Teach Ag campaign with representatives from Mount Olive,” Swain said.

She said the overall goal of the conference is for the participants to take what they’ve learned back to their respective counties.

“Our main objective for our students is to provide them with opportunities for them to develop leadership skills, develop themselves as a person, and ultimately, find success in any career, but hopefully they choose agriculture,” Godwin said. “This organization is very important to anyone who has ever worn the blue jacket. Anyone that is or was an FFA member can tell you how much the jacket, their agriculture teacher and their experiences have impacted their lives in a positive way.”