Former Cloudland student wins national FFA honor

Published 5:07 pm Friday, September 9, 2016

Billi Potter

Billi Potter

The national Future Farmers of America organization recently honored the hard work and dedication of a member of Cloudland High School’s Class of 2014.
In August, Billi Potter was awarded the prestigious American FFA Degree.
According to the FFA organization’s website “the American FFA Degree is awarded at the National FFA Convention and Expo each year to less than 1 percent of FFA members, making it one of the organization’s highest honors.”
Lauren Turbyfill, the Cloudland FFA Chapter’s faculty advisor, said Potter is the first student from the Carter County School system to receive the honor.
“Billi was an FFA member freshman through senior years and maintained her membership the years beyond her graduation,” Turbyfill said. “Students can continue to be FFA members through the age of 21. The American Degree can only be earned after graduation.”
Since graduating from Cloudland in 2014, Potter has continued to participate in FFA activities as if she were still a student, Turbyfill said. Potter attends the state and national conventions and also serves as a chaperone at the local competitions.
Earning the American Degree requires a tremendous amount of work and dedication to the program beyond graduation.
“The credentials necessary for the American Degree are grueling,” Turbyfill said.
• Students must have earned the State FFA Degree during their junior or senior year of high school.
• They must have earned and productively invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of scheduled class time through the student’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Project(s) or the chapter’s SAE.
• Have 50 hours of community service or volunteer work above and beyond the time they dedicate to their SAE.
• Maintained a C or higher grade average throughout their entire academic career.
• Have been an active FFA member for the past three years consecutively and have a record of satisfactory participation in activities on the chapter and state level.
• And completed at least 540 instructional hours of Agricultural Education in secondary school.
Just like the degree requirements, Potter’s SAE project also covered many things.
“Her SAE was multi-faceted, including raising plants and vegetables, wildlife habitat improvement, food service, countless hours spent assisting with the FFA and school greenhouse outside of school hours and beyond graduation,” Turbyfill said.

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