Granton FFA Chapter gets 3-star rating at National Convention
by Cheyenne Thomas
Like a test checks the progress of an individual to see how well they are performing, every year the Granton FFA chapter fills out a National Chapter Award application, taking time to reflect on its activities. This year, the “test” came back with one of the best results the chapter has had in a couple years: a Three-Star Award.
The Granton FFA was awarded the Three-Star Award during the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis, Ind. on Oct. 31. Katie Reider, the advisor of the chapter, said the level of the national award they received is the highest the Granton FFA has received since 2015.
“They’re excited,” she said. “Since I’ve been here, we’ve never had this, so I didn’t realize that we were going on stage at first. But when I looked again, I saw that we were and when the kids heard about it they were like, ‘This is awesome.’” The National Chapter Award is an award that Reider said is filled out annually by FFA chapters across the nation and acts as a sort of litmus test for the quality of the chapter. At the end of each year, she said the FFA officer team reflects back on the year’s activities and categorizes the events they do into three areas that are later judged at the state level.
“It’s based on the National Chapter award application. We fill it out in April based on last year’s events. There’s three areas: growing leaders, strengthening ag and building communities. In the application, we select three events for each category. Specific things, like for example, safety for building communities, chapter recruitment for strengthening ag. You pick a particular event,” she Granton, from page 1
said. “The kids write everything, the officers team up, two will work on each category to get the application done, the president revises and I do the final revisions. It’s the kids’ project, they take pride in how it places.”
Once the application is sent off and judged, Reider said the chapters are informed on the results. Gold applications, like the one Granton had this year, are then sent to national competition to be judged. There, the applications are rated by stars; three stars being the highest an FFA chapter can receive.
“We’ve been gold at state for many years. We went to state and placed gold from among 20 chapters,” she said. “We went on to Nationals where we got a three star rating. We’ve had a two star rating for the past couple years.”
In a district that has a strong FFA history but struggles in other extracurricular events, Reider said, the award has had a very positive effect on the students.
“Most of the kids realize that because we do so much, they have so much support. The kids often have a hard time at Granton, there isn’t a lot of sports support,” she said. “It’s a two way street, we do have a lot of give and take that a lot of communities don’t have.”
While the award itself is nice, Reider said it also provides the Granton FFA with a crucial reflection tool to help them see areas of their chapter that can be improved. Giving them a way to check their own progress, they are able to address areas that could use another project, or another approach to an issue to make them a more wellrounded chapter.
“It’s kind of cool to be able to do this. They see they’re on the right track and are able to pick out the areas we want to improve,” she said. “It’s a lot of paperwork, but it’s a good reflection for us. There’s something in each group. That makes us a well-rounded chapter.”
Even though the application is a good way to help the chapter stay on track and keep all areas of the organization active, Reider said the Granton FFA holds the events it does in the year in high regard. The community cares about and supports the FFA, she said, and the FFA wants to do the same.
“It sets a high standard. We care about the events that go with it, it’s not just an application,” she said. “I think it will always be that way, hands-on works. They want to be active. The paperwork gets us going, but it sits on the back burner until spring because in the fall and winter, that’s when we’re actually doing stuff. There’s reflection at the end and we ask ourselves, ‘Did we meet or exceed our goals?’” Despite being a Three-Star chapter, Reider said there is always something more to do to improve the Granton FFA. In the next year, she said the goal is to strengthen parts of the chapter that fit in the individual areas of the application. Those individual areas are given awards at state and national events she said, and strengthening each one will make the chapter even better.
“We really want to work on placing here in the state in individual categories, work on perfecting some of these areas,” she said.
The Granton FFA officer team prepared the application that earned a gold rating at the state level and a three star rating at the National Convention in Indianapolis in late October. It’s the first time the Granton chapter has earned the three star distinction since 2015.