COLUMBIA — Four students were scheduled for special recognition Monday night before the Columbia School Board for winning a national FFA award for career development in forestry.
Larry Henneke, agriculture instructor for the Columbia Area Career Center, said he was proud of the students he coached.
“It was an honor to be first in the nation,” Henneke said. “Our students competed better than students from other major states.”
The career development event requires knowledge and numerous skills in forest management. The competition included a general forest knowledge exam, tree disorders identification, a chainsaw practicum, forestry issues interview and a team activity. Before representing the state at the national FFA convention, each team competed at local and state levels.
Michelle Baumstark, Columbia Public Schools community relations coordinator, said winning the award required a lot of work. “We are very proud of our teachers and our students who participated in the competition," she said. "They did a lot of preparation for this event."
The winners of the National FFA Forestry Career Development Event, announced weeks ago during the national convention at Indianapolis, included Courtney Johnson, John Marshall, Brandon Gerardy from Rock Bridge High School and Noble Carpenter from Hickman High.
Each of the students received a $1,000 scholarship for college or any post-secondary institution of his or her choice. The top-placing teams after Missouri were Minnesota and Georgia, respectively. The forestry event was sponsored by Husqvarna and John Deere.
FFA, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of more than 500,000 students from all 50 states, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.