With the event center decorated, tables and chairs filling up with members, families and community supporters, and with trays, bowls and pans of food filling the serving area, Hot Springs FFA Chapter President Kimmy Molsbee called the chapter’s annual banquet to order.
The annual meeting, held each spring as the school year is drawing to an end, attends to business, recognizing and honoring individuals, and to gather in fellowship. The most important business at the Monday banquet was announcing the officer leadership team that will head the FFA chapter going forward from the meeting’s end through the 2022-2023 school year.
In a time honored ritual that is performed in meetings across the country, Chapter Vice President Madison Green called the roll of officers, each answering from their specified station, which carry symbolic meaning.
Sentinel Matthew Aguirre, stationed by the door, to see it is opened to friends, as he helps to keep the room orderly and comfortable. Reporter Nevada Segura stationed by the flag, symbolic of the nationwide scope of FFA. Stationed by the emblem of George Washington is Treasurer Cody Escobar, who keeps all the financial records of the chapter, much as Washington kept the records for his farms. Chapter Secretary Aubrie Carter, is by the ear of corn, is entrusted with keeping an accurate record of all meetings and corresponding with other chapter’s secretaries. Julian Marta, the chapter advisor is stationed by the owl, a symbol of wisdom and knowledge, with a responsibility to advise and give counsel as needed.
The roll call ends with the Vice President and President. The Vice President is stationed by the plow, symbol of labor and the tillage of soil, she is entrusted with assisting in directing the chapter and presiding over meetings in the President’s absence. The rising sun where the President is stationed symbolizes the new era in agriculture. She is directed to leading away from selfishness, into the sunlight of brotherhood and cooperation.
After a feast, symbolic in its own way for an organization of and for those dedicated to feeding a nation and the world, it was time to introduce the featured guest speaker, New Mexico Director/Secretary of Agriculture.
Awards are always a big part of the FFA banquet. Before those are presented, all current and past FFA members are asked to come to the front. Every year it is impressive just how large a portion of those present rise and come forward.
At the banquet, FFA degrees are conferred. At each degree level, one of those earning it is chosen to be the star member at that level. The Discovery Degree, for those middle school students who have finished their first year of agricultural education. Those earning it were Chloe Curliss, Cayden Diamond, Jazmine Loera, Elaina Mays, Neveah Mitchell, Tristan Polanco and Ernie Spitzer, with Elaina Mays chosen as the Star Discovery member.
The Greenhand Degree recognizes members who have finished their freshman or sophomore year in agricultural education. Those awarded this degree were Kerianne Apodaca, Austin Atwell, Branden Baca, Hayli Bagwell, Maci Hudson and Michah Spears.
The final chapter level degree is the Chapter Degree, of members in their third year. This year, those chapter members earning this were Matthew Aguirre, Arianna Alaniz, Jesse Cassidy, Bryleigh Castillo, Leslie Cheramie, Amelia Gabaldon, Brooklynn Garcia, Ava Harrelson, Hannah Hawkins, Miranda Monsibaiz, Veronica Monsibaiz, Matthew Rodriguez, Breanna Ryburn, Kira Shook, Josiah Tidwell and Preston Wood.
From many chapter members who submitted application for a State Degree, two successfully met all the requirements and will receive their degrees at the FFA State Convention, held in June. Those who will receive this degree are Juanito Montoya and Conner Roberts.
The chapter also recognized three outstanding adults to receive the Honorary FFA Degree. This is awarded to farmers, superintendents, principals, school board members, advisors, teachers, staff members or others who have fundamentally helped to advance agricultural education and the FFA. This year, those award this degree were Mark Hedge, KeliKay Hopkins and Sara Marta.
With that, the new officers were to be announced. Those who will form the leadership team in the Hot Springs FFA Chapter and its 175 members. The new officers are, Chapter President Aubrie Carter, Vice President Dawson Gurule, Secretary Ava Harrelson, Treasurer Bryleigh Castillo, Reporter Hannah Hawkins and Sentinel Matthew Aguirre.
Be sure to see next week’s Sentinel where the FFA Chapters showing at the National Convention and at State and regional CDEs will be highlighted.