Big Dreams Yesterday, Big Wins Today, Big Goals for Tomorrow for WMS Ag and FFA
In 2017, Mr. Joe Proffitt approached Principal Jason Campbell with a vision for a WMS agriculture class. The first year Mr. Proffitt taught one ag class that included about twenty students. Together that first year, the first class propagated plants from seeds and cuttings, built twenty raised beds, and took over two large existing beds on campus.
From there, the ag program grew, thanks to a gracious sponsorship from The St. Joe Foundation and Farm Bureau. Mr. Proffitt added hydroponic towers, chicken pens, rabbit cages, and tools for his students. The students also ventured to Moultrie, Georgia, and other professional conferences to learn all they could.
Last summer, Mr. Proffitt attended the Future Farmers of America (FFA) State Conference in Orlando and came back ready to begin an FFA Club at WMS. Relying on the experience and expertise of Mrs. Susie McDaniel at Paxton, Mr. Proffitt has successfully dived headfirst into the FFA world and all that it offers his students.
Now, nearly six years after Mr. Proffitt launched his agriculture vision to Mr. Campbell, the WMS agriculture program boasts over 120 students selected from 620 applications last year.
Just this school year, the ag department and FFA have accomplished the following:
--Elected FFA officers, who successfully run each meeting. (President—Carli Nowling; Vice President—Fallon Ray; Secretary—Gracie Partridge; Treasurer—Chase Graham; Historian—Tucker White; Sentinel—Hailey Caldwell; Chaplain—Jaycee Ealum; Parliamentarian—Khameo Powell.
--Sold over 400 Boston butts and hams to send students to Gainesville and Tampa and held a Yeti cooler raffle, raising over $12,000.
--Raised money for the angel tree program at WMS.
--Took forty students to the SunBelt Ag Expo in Moultrie, Georgia.
--Hosted the FFA booth at the Walton County Fair
Further, FFA has built powerful community relationships in the following CDE categories:
--The horse evaluation team works with Ms. Karley McDonald and Kyle and Kim McDonald’s farm monthly. Students Suzie Parsons, Finley Kelley, Allison Reeves, and Rosie Campbell competed this year.
--The meat evaluation team, coached by Tim Seay, placed #14 in the state and visited the University of Florida Meat Laboratory for a two-day clinic. Mr. Seay is the grandparent of team member Brady Seay. Lowe’s manager Marshall Roberts donated hard helmets for the students, which Mrs. Amber Proffitt adorned with meat evaluation stickers. Students Gabe Hammonds, Atticus May, Aiden Anderson, Tyler Betts, and Brady Seay make up this great group.
--The poultry evaluation team tested #7 in the state during preliminary competition, then competed in Tampa for the state finals taking the #8 spot. They meet with Mandy Ray and Keaton McDonald. Gracie Partridge, Maddie Ferrell, Brocktyn Hallman, and Kalyn Truett competed for this team.
--The dairy evaluation team, under the direction of Anastin Herring from Paxton, tested #9 in the state preliminaries, coming out with a #5 ranking in the state finals in Tampa. The team made up of Bella Williams, Adelyn Chambers, Katie Bray, and Ashton Black is the best-performing CDE so far in WMS’ short FFA history.
--The floriculture and nursery team works directly with Janet Evans of Plant Playground in Mossy Head. Team members include Silas English, Danika Cottle, Ava Fountain, Whitney Hart, Lillie Potts, Audrey Weeks, Aubrey Baker, Yaretzi Ramirez, and Kaylen Boles. They placed #7 in the state on their preliminaries and will compete over Spring Break for the state title.
--The forestry team did not compete this year but has three great volunteers working with students Khameo Powell, Riley Cousins, Jonathon Harman, Hollywood McArthur, and Jeremiah Curry. FWC Officer Taylor Tison, Forester Ariel Sewell, and IFAS Agent Ian Stone coach this team.
--The tool ID team works with WMS construction teachers Mr. Rusty Brooks and Mr. Tommy Martin. These students are Eli Gainey, Gavin Sconiers, Tripp Ervin, Cayden Tankersley, and Makenna Anderson.
--The prepared public speaking team works with WMS ELA teacher Miss Kaylyn Rhodes. These students are Hailey Caldwell, Alyn Lara, Alysa Bryan, Khameo Powell, and Joyanna Waites
--The vegetable evaluation team works with WMS science teacher Mrs. Dana Quinley. They are planting a huge garden at Fox Branch Farms, thanks to Matt Trawick and Terri Morrison preparing a spot for them. Students on this team are Elaina Pineda, Olivia Sloan, Josalyn Pollack, Allison Reeves, Taylor Lee, Rylee Herrington, and Gracie Lawson.
With all the successful busyness outlined above, Mr. Proffitt still hopes to add an aquaculture team, a livestock evaluation team, and an ornamental horticulture design team next school year. With the addition of these teams, FFA will need more community volunteers, so help is tremendously appreciated!
Mr. Proffitt could go on and on about the tremendous knowledge and skills his students have gained and the powerful relationships the program has built. He acknowledges, “FFA and community relationships go hand-in-hand […] It’s really about building awareness and linking people with expertise and experience together through our Career and Leadership Development events.”
WMS looks forward to all FFA will accomplish in the future.
We are one tribe, on one mission, preparing students for lifelong success.