Brownwood High School's FFA looks back on a successful year
Brownwood ISD is well known for its ever-successful athletics programs, but there is a hidden gem that shines just as bright. The Brownwood High School Future Farmers of America program has had a very full and successful season this school year.
Senior Lindsey Larose is one of the FFA students who won many awards this year. She noted that she balances school, and being a member of the Lady Lions basketball team, while also raising and showing livestock.
"I have been in FFA since third grade, and I have loved the program more and more every year. I was extremely blessed to have an amazing final year of showing," said Larose.
Most notably, Larose won Reserve Champion Duroc Gilt at Brown County Youth Fair, Champion Hampshire Market Barrow at Brown County Youth Fair, and Champion Hampshire Market Barrow at the San Angelo Stock Show, among other awards.
According to Larose, the FFA program is much like a family to her. She expressed an appreciation for being a part of a group that shares the same passion for FFA and livestock.
"Being a member of FFA, you are surrounded with people who have the same passions you do. The support system within FFA is truly unmatched as we all become a family," Larose added.
Larose believes the memories and friendships made during her time with FFA will last a lifetime. Larose plans on attending Texas Tech in the fall to study animal science in hopes of becoming a veterinarian.
Senior and BHS FFA Chapter resident Brandon Day has been an active member of the FFA program since the beginning of his freshman year.
"Through the FFA, I have competed in a number of different leadership and career development events, ranging from Agricultural Issues Forum to Entomology," Day said. "I have been fortunate enough to qualify for the state contest eight different times with two top-10 placings.
"I have had the opportunity to attend contests all over the state of Texas.
Between serving as the FFA president, competing in track and cross country, and playing football and baseball, Day's main priority is his academics. He has maintained a spot in the top 6 percent of his class.
Day has plans to attend Texas A&M University to study animal science pursuing a veterinarian career as well. Additionally, he agrees that the memories made from his time in FFA have been a highlight during his time at BHS.
"My favorite part about being an FFA member has been the memories made and the people I've met along the way," Day said. "The leadership and career development skills I have learned in the FFA have prepared me for a future career within the ag industry."
Junior Rylah Morgan, Cross Timbers FFA District president, also had an early start in the FFA program.
"I started my time with junior FFA in third and fourth grade," Morgan said. "I've since continued my FFA journey from freshman year to the present, competing in Ag Issues Forum, livestock judging, public speaking, agriculture advocacy, and Senior Quiz, along with holding offices at the chapter and district levels."
Morgan shows market lambs and plans on investing in other areas of livestock for her senior year. She also serves as the Brown County Youth Fair Queen.
"FFA has impacted me in so many ways and has done so many amazing things in my life," Morgan said. "It has helped me grow as a person and improve my public speaking skills, confidence, and overall has boosted my knowledge of the agriculture industry as a whole."
Freshman Hayden Deen is another student who says FFA has positively impacted his own high school experience.
He received awards for Reserve Grand Awe at Brown County Youth Fair, third place cross at BCYF, and eighth place at the San Antonio Livestock Show with a cross.
"I have been in FFA for two years, and I've already made lots of memories," Deen said. "There are lots of great people involved in FFA."
Deen credits FFA for allowing him to be a part of something bigger than himself and a way for him to express his skills to the best of his ability.
BHS agriculture teacher Chelsea Wilson has been overseeing the many different showings and competitions the students have participated in for eight years.
"FFA is about experience and setting and reaching goals, and I love to be the one that they choose to help them succeed in life," Wilson said. "It truly is what the job is about and what I love about the FFA. Our students experience many ups and downs along the way, but most wouldn't trade the memories made along the way."
With COVID-19 extending over the last year, many events for the FFA program had been delayed or ultimately canceled. Although this year's contests have looked different than expected, Wilson said that agriculturalists are resilient people.
"We've pulled ourselves up by the bootstraps and plugged along," Wilson said. "Shows, meetings, conventions, and contests have all looked a little different, but we've been fortunate to continue with as much normalcy as possible."
Cade Wilson, a former ag professor of eight years and BHS ag teacher of eight years, believes teaching agriculture presents a different challenge than teaching any other subject.
"What we do is extracurricular," Wilson said. "We have the opportunity to spend a lot of time with our students and their families. We've built lifelong relationships with many of our students' families.
"I truly enjoy watching the students' successes once they leave our program. In the end, that's our job, shaping and molding our students to help them be successful in life."
The FFA program focuses on more than just the time students spend in high school. Chelsea noted that the program is always focused on the future.
"We work diligently to help prepare our students for future success, not only in their chosen profession or university," Chelsea Wilson said. "We want to help encourage students to be productive citizens and supporters of agriculture wherever they decide to plant their roots."