Walla Walla FFA members earn American FFA Degrees – By Wa-Hi Teacher Jessica Johnson
Each year, the National Future Farmers of America Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year 4,353 American Degrees were awarded. Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs.
To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee. Recipients must also complete 50 hours of community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.
Naddile Widner and Mikayla Hardin, 2018 Walla Walla High School graduates, earned the American FFA Degree in 2020. Naddile and Mikayla will receive the coveted gold American FFA Degree key and certificate. Both Naddile and Mikayla were leaders in the FFA, and are pursuing degrees and careers in Agriculture.
Naddile transferred to the Walla Walla School District her freshman year, and quickly became an active member of the FFA. Naddile has a competitive spirit as she competed in FFA Career and Leadership Development Events including the Agriculture Issues Forum, Employment Skills, Dairy Products Evaluation and Livestock Evaluation. Naddile has a gift for leadership as she served in roles as a chapter officer for three years, as a Washington FFA District VI officer and as a delegate for the Washington FFA Association at the 2017 National Convention and Expo. Naddile earned a position on the elite Washington FFA State Officer Team, and served as State Secretary in 2018-2019. Naddile completed multiple SAE projects including Swine Entrepreneurship, placement in her parents’ orchard and Agriscience research. Naddile is attending Oregon State University pursuing a degree in Environmental Science.
Mikayla began her FFA journey as a sophomore in high school. Mikayla found her passion with Veterinary Science and became a valued team member with caring for the flock of Suffolk/Hampshire sheep on the school farm. Mikayla learned a number of animal husbandry skills and successfully completed three Sheep Entrepreneurship SAE projects. Her experience working on the school farm and in the Veterinary Assistance class sparked her interest in research and she completed three award winning Agriscience research SAE projects, earning the Washington FFA Star in Agriscience award her senior year. Mikayla is pursuing a degree in Veterinary Science at Washington State University.