No. 1 in Arizona: Willcox is top FFA chapter

Ainslee S. Wittig/Range News

With some of the chapter's awards, Willcox FFA officers, from left, are: Rita Riggs, treasurer; Mike Wear, student committee representative; Amara Wolf, community development co-chair; Amanda Webb, vice president; Samantha Jones, secretary; Holly Hogue, sentinel; Brooke Conner, community development chair; Dee Wear, president; and Nicolette Klump, student development chair. Missing from picture are Beto Leal, reporter, and Heather Hamman, student development chair.

The Willcox FFA Chapter has made history.

For the first time, the Willcox Schools chapter is ranked number one in Arizona by a state committee of the National FFA Organization.

After about 40 hours of putting together a 23-page application, the National FFA Organization passed the news on to chapter advisor Daniel Foster on Monday, March 28.

Willcox FFA will go on to compete for the National FFA Chapter Award at the national conference in the fall.

The 120-member chapter has applied for the state award for several years, placing fourth in Arizona in 2004, and eighth in 2003.

The award is based on a chapter's program of activities, which provide opportunities for members to excel in three areas: student, chapter, and community development.

Willcox FFA has 120 members in eighth through 12th grades.

Dan Foster, chapter advisor and agri-science teacher, said there are 75 chapters in Arizona, ranging in size from 600 members in Peoria to 18 members in San Simon.

"This award is all encompassing — all chapters are lumped together, regardless of size. The winner has the most complete program, encompassing development in all three areas. For Willcox, this award is the result of a lot of hard-working students who showed the epitomy of teamwork, a caring community and a supportive school. A school this small hasn't won this award in a very long time," Foster said.

Chapter President Dee Wear commended the chapter, saying the win is a "combination of teamwork and pulling together to support every member, as well as other students and community members."

Amanda Webb, vice president, said the chapter has added more activities involving the community and non-member students.

Since last year, additions have included 'Turkey Day' at the elementary school, more activities involving high-school students during National FFA Week, and Adopt-a-Family during Christmas, where the chapter provided food, clothing and gifts for a local family of five.

The public is invited to the Willcox FFA 76th annual Banquet on Thursday, April 28, in the Willcox High School gym at 6 p.m. Please RSVP if possible, (not required) to (520) 384-8647 by Monday, April 25.