The 2016 National FFA Convention & Expo began its first year of its nine-year run in Indianapolis, IN on October 18th, 2016. The Strom Thurmond Career & Technology Center (STCTC) FFA Association was amongst this group in Indianapolis. There were seventeen FFA members representing the Strom Thurmond chapter as well as their advisors Dr. Darla Steele and Mr. Jeremy Brooks, and chaperon Hope Brooks. “This was my first trip to Indianapolis and to FFA Nationals so I had no idea what to expect. I was amazed to see 65,000 FFA students in one place and Indianapolis was a very cool city,” said Anna Kate Hightower, STCTC FFA Member.


The Strom Thurmond FFA Chapter competed in two national contests at the National Convention; Farm Business Management and Job Interview. Farm Business Management consisted of team members: Meg Hoffman, Weston Whitfield, Emily Cleveland, and Gracie Herrin. The team finished as a national silver emblem team and brought home 1 bronze individual award and 2 silver individual awards and 1 gold individual award. Bailey Pedersen, a freshman at Clemson University and Thurmond FFA Alumni competed in Job Interview and finished as a national bronze emblem individual. Former Thurmond FFA member: Leigh Northrop was also recognized on Saturday with her American FFA Degree. The American FFA Degree is the highest student award given by the National FFA Association and is based on over five years worth of work from Miss Northrop.


The Thurmond FFA group attended the Opening Session of the National FFA Convention on Wednesday afternoon and the FFA Expo on Wednesday and Thursday. They also experienced several fun activities while in Indianapolis, including riding segways around the White River State Park, touring a marshmallow plant, viewing several historical sites downtown, shopping and more. “Taking 17 high school students into an unknown city is a task, but STCTC has great students and they were all great representatives of our school district,” Dr. Steele, FFA advisor. Trustworthy is one of ECSD’s (Edgefield County School District) characteristics of a “World Class Citizen.” ECSD is focused on ensuring its graduates are prepared for success by focusing on the skills needed by business and industry.


At the last session of the convention, Manning, SC native DeShawn Blanding was named to the National Officer team making him the first officer from SC since 1967. The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth and career success training through agricultural education to 649,335 student members in grades seven through twelve who belong to one of 7,757 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.



STCTC FFA at the Harry and Izzy’s Restaurant Downtown Indianapolis

Bottom Row L to R: Bailey Pedersen, Misty Henderson, Gracie Herrin and Meg Hoffman. Second Row L to R: Anna Kate Hightower, Chelsea Glover, Lindsey Glover, Emily Cleveland and Kate Boyd. Third Row L to R: Mary Ashlyn Goforth, Beth Verdery, Carolyn Barrett Guess and Julia Crim. Back Row L to R: Tyler Thompson, Carrie Herlong, Weston Whitfield and Whit Guess.