In 1917 the Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act was adopted. This act established funding to state governments in order to help promote vocational education for agricultural and industrial trades and home economics.
As we celebrate the one hundredth anniversary of this act, we celebrate the rich history agricultural education has in our American story. In 1928, the Future Farmers of America was established in Kansas City, Mo., as an agricultural club to challenge students to apply the concepts taught in ag classes.
In 1932, Madisonville FFA was founded. While the details of FFA have changed over the years, the focus of its existence has remained constant. This organization continues to train and teach students how to become successful and productive citizens.
Each year, more than 300 students at MHS learn countless skills through classroom and hands-on instruction in the shop, greenhouse, and ag barn. Students further apply skills by competing in numerous FFA competitive events and activities. This unique training environment that FFA creates is helping students to develop their unique talents and skills in order to excel in a varying range of careers.
Since its founding in 1928, the highest degree a student could earn in the organization has been the American FFA Degree.This degree is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated significant accomplishments in their supervised agricultural experiences.
This award is considered to be one of the most prestigious that an FFA member can receive because less than 1 percent of all FFA members receive this honor. Wallace Osborne, class of 1944, was the first member of Madisonville FFA to receive the American FFA Degree. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army and worked as a rural contractor in Madison County upon his honorable discharge from the military.
Osborne paved the way for many more FFA members in Madisonville who have sought to receive their American Degrees as well. I was honored to be selected this past summer, along with my classmates Shaylee Turner, Karleigh Howeth and Wyatt Pavlicek, to follow in Osborne’s footsteps. We will be awarded the American FFA Degree at the National FFA Convention this month in Indianapolis.
In recent years Madisonville FFA has seen a resurgence of interest and involvement from students whom wish to receive their American Degrees. Each year more and more students have returned to Madisonville after graduation to work with our outstanding ag teachers to complete the lengthy application. Upon Osborne’s passing a memorial scholarship fund was set up to ensure that all students who take the time to complete the American FFA Degree will receive recognition for their accomplishment.
Therefore, on behalf of all students in the Madisonville FFA chapter both past and present we would like to thank the Osborne family for establishing an award that allows the community to recognize the FFA members’ hard work and accomplishments during their time in FFA.
The American FFA Degree truly is a great achievement and the Osborne family has helped to make it even more special to the community of Madisonville.