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SEBs FFA chapter receives state, national recognition
Group shines at U.S. convention in Indy
seb team 2 - 2W
Back from left to right are Yvette Smith (Advisor), Tyson Joiner, Ashley Cromley, Chandler Starling, Knapp Boddiford, and Brian Elrick (Advisor). Front from left to right is Brianna Goodman, Mary C Cromley, and Susannah Lanier (Advisor). - photo by Special
      Southeast Bulloch High School's FFA chapter started off the 2009-10 academic year with a bang. Austin Akins, an SEB senior and current chapter president, was asked to accompany the Georgia State FFA Executive Committee to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis as a voting delegate.
      It is very rare for someone who is not a State FFA Officer to be allowed to participate in the National FFA annual convention's regulatory process. In addition to attending to his voting duties, Akins attended a number of seminars on "Leadership Skills," "Career Planning," and "Public Speaking."
      FFA Advisor Yvette Smith understood why Akins received such an honor.
      "Austin is an extremely hard-working, dedicated, and conscientious young man," she said. "He has broken out of his shell and become a really strong leader. As such, I am not surprised that he was awarded this exceptional honor."
      SEB is represented on the Georgia FFA State Executive Committee this year by alumna Valerie Noles, who is serving as state secretary.
      SEB's chapter has had a number of state officers, including Brian Elrick, Sara Ervin and Jarrod Creasy, each of whom has served as the state vice  president for the Central Region.
       In addition, SEB FFA'er Jarrett Fail was elected as one of 70 members from the national FFA membership to be selected to entertain the delegates at the National Convention in Indianapolis, singing to the conventioneers three times during the week.
      On top of all these individual achievements, SEB's FFA chapter garnered two more national recognitions. First, SEB Alumna Sara Christine Ervin was one of 71 Georgia FFA members (out of nearly 29,000) to be awarded the "American Degree" this year, the highest rank one can achieve.
      Secondly, the SEB chapter was one of 23 (out of nearly 250 in the State) to earn the coveted "National 3 Star Gold Emblem Chapter Award." This is also the second year in a row the chapter has earned this recognition, which is the highest award given to a chapter.
      Therefore, a contingent of SEB FFA'ers traveled to Indianapolis to receive the award. The group included V.P. Mary C. Cromley, Reporter Ashley Cromley, Sentinel Brianna Goodman, Treasurer Chandler Starling, Chaplain Tyson Joiner, Student Advisor Zach Grizzard and member Knapp Boddiford.
      They were led by chapter advisors: Yvette Smith, a 10-year veteran teacher at SEBHS and lead advisor for the past five years; Brian Elrick, who is a 2002 SEB graduate and received his master's in agriculture education from UGA in 2009; and Susannah Lanier, who is a 2004 SEB graduate now working alongside Smith at SEB.
      First year teacher Brian Elrick, had the following to say about how the FFA has shaped his life:
      "If it wasn't for the FFA at SEB I wouldn't have been able to turn my passion for being out-of-doors into a career in Agricultural. I can't imagine being happy doing anything else."
       Lanier, also in her first year of teaching, graduated from UGA with a degree in Agriculture Business, but decided to come back to SEB to teach alongside Smith.
     "This is my chance to impact these kids like Ms. Smith and this program did for me, and show them all that Agriculture has to offer," she said.

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