Cloudland FFA wins T-shirt design contest

Published 10:27 am Thursday, March 26, 2015

Cloudland High School’s chapter of Future Farmers of America blew their competition out of the water, winning the national organization’s annual t-shirt contest.

The Cloudland chapter received 149,787 votes in the online contest, the most votes of all 12 designs, to beat out the second place entry by more than 27,000 votes.

Chapter adviser Lauren Jaynes Turbyfill was notified by the national organization on Friday that the design submitted by her students was one of six contest winners and had received the most votes.

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Students in the chapter created their shirt using an image of the iconic Rosie the Riveter wearing an FFA jacket and bearing the phrase “Anything you can do, we can do too.” The students selected the image and phrase as a way to commemorate the fact that in the FFA, girls are just as capable as boys, Turbyfill said.

On both the national level and locally at Cloudland, membership in the FFA has shifted over the years to include more female students. Both the male and female students at Cloudland supported the idea of using Rosie the Riveter for their shirt, Turbyfill said.

As the clock ticked down for voting to close, the chapter watched the vote totals posted on the website to see how their design was fairing.

“I was beside myself. We knew by 5 p.m. Thursday that we had the highest votes, but they said they wouldn’t announce the “official” results until Friday,” Turbyfill said. “Deep down in my gut I had this awful feeling, that with such a high number of votes, they might find that someone with good intentions to help us win, had broken the rules and used a ‘Votebot’ voting technique — robotic voting ­— or something. I just couldn’t let myself celebrate Thursday until I got the official word that we had won. Thankfully no one had done anything crazy, and the win was ours to keep.”

When her students heard they news, they were just as excited as she was.

“They feel like we’ve won the lottery,” Turbyfill said. “Winning first place in this national contest means lots of recognition and respect for our tiny school and FFA chapter. The kids have yet another reason to be proud of themselves and feel accomplished.”

Winning the contest not only means recognition for the chapter, it also means more funding for the group.

As the winning entry in the contest, the Cloudland FFA chapter will receive 50 percent of the profits generated from the sale of their shirt design during the first year. The profits will be tallied from sales of the Rosie shirt from March 20, 2015 through March 31, 2016 and then, in May 2016, the national organization will send a check to the Cloudland chapter.

“We haven’t decided how to celebrate yet,” Turbyfill said. “The celebrating might come when we receive the hopefully humongous check in May of 2016.”

While they have not planned a celebration, plans are already forming for how to spend the extra money coming in.

“Winning the contest will hopefully boost our ability to have multiple small outings and events,” Turbyfill said.

Currently, the chapter’s income is based solely on their greenhouse and citrus sales, which does bring money into the program but there are also costs associated with participating in FFA.

“State Convention costs about $2,500 each year. National Convention costs well over $3,000,” Turbyfill said. “I supplement the cost of the students’ FFA Jackets by a 1/3 ratio, which totals $20 per student that purchases a jacket. We buy cords/sashes for Senior members, T-shirts for the group, meals at various times of the year and the list goes on.”

“With the ‘big ticket’ expenses, it’s really hard for me to feel right about spending roughly $150 a month to have small meals or events, so, naturally I am a penny-pincher, and it limits our activities,” she added. “I try to keep our account even each year – spending what we are bringing in – but that doesn’t allow for much else other than State and National Convention. I really think winning the contest will give us more opportunities to go and do, eat, drink sweet tea and be merry.”

The Cloudland FFA Rosie shirt is available now for pre-order at for a cost of $19.50.

The chapter’s greenhouse will open on April 22 from 8-3 p.m. for sales.