FLORENCE, Ala. — Friday, May 12, was an evening of celebration as the Florence FFA chapter hosted its annual banquet. Florence Middle School and Florence High School students and their families gathered at the event to commemorate the year's achievements. "A lot of them have competed in competitions and advanced to the state level, but the big deal here is in the FFA, we have something called degrees, so it's just a level of achievement," FFA Sponsor Shelby Atwood said.
Students must complete certain requirements to qualify for different degree levels. Atwood said the first degree is for Discovery, followed by Greenhand, Chapter, and State. Students who go on to participate in FFA at the collegiate level can get an American Degree.
Students awarded at the banquet received certificates and commemorative pins for their achievements. Graduating seniors received tassels to wear with their caps and gowns. Apart from summer conventions, Atwood said the banquet is a goodbye for many student members. "It's definitely an emotional event, and it's hard to say goodbye to some of them," she said.
Atwood said the banquet has grown in years past, with 2022 being the first year that the middle and high school chapters combined for one event. She added that enrollment is also up for the respective FFA organizations, with around 80 members in years past to around 120 in 2023.