Addison Grey, Kendall Warren and Rome Middle School Agriculture instructor and FFA Advisor Ashley Hamby celebrate nationally recognized accomplishments at the school's greenhouse. / Rome City Schools

“In order to qualify for a state or national award your chapter must complete at least 15 activities throughout the school year. For example, some of our kids participated in the nursery landscape career development events,” Ashley Hamby, agriculture education teacher and FFA advisor said.

Not only did the RMS Chapter of FFA receive the National Three Star award, but they also received the Georgia Top Three Gold Emblem Award.

“These are progressive rewards for middle school FFA chapters, as they provide great educational experiences for the entire membership,” said Hamby.

The primary goal of these awards is to help develop individual responsibilities, foster teamwork and promote communication while motivating students and encourage leadership, personal growth, citizenship and career development.

The RMS agriculture program is part of Rome City Schools’ career, technical and agricultural education programs, which helps students prepare to choose their high school career pathways by reaching new career readiness goals.

Hamby said she loves the opportunities FFA and agriculture education help to provide for young people as, “it makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.”

Through the incorporation of three integral parts, classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience and the FFA organization, students have the opportunity to attend monthly meetings, chapter socials, career development events, conferences and various field trips.

One of the big highlights for RMS agriculture is the enormous greenhouse, in which all students obtain hands-on experience.

“The curriculum is inside and outside the classroom, which to me, is so important throughout these children’s lives,” Hamby said. “The awards only mean that we get to continue this program and make it more successful, which benefits the students more than anything else.”

Georgia FFA Membership includes approximately 41,000 students and 475 agricultural education teachers, and RMS has over 100 active members. Eighth grade FFA members Addison Gray and Kendall Warren both enjoy the time they spend with FFA, as well as all of the things that they have learned so far.

“My favorite part of FFA is competing in the competitions like the nursery landscape CDE,” Warren said. “Basically, we study cards with specific plants on them and we learn what they look like, their smells as well as anything else that would help us to tell them apart. Once we learn all of our plants, we travel to competitions where we match each plant with its correct name.”

Gray said she is just proud to call herself a member of such a great organization.

“I am just beyond excited to be a part of something this big, and I am looking forward to the future of FFA.”

“With its being FFA’s first year as a National Three Star Chapter, it is a huge success and a huge outlet that will make other kids excited to join FFA as well. That is my plan, and I want to get other kids excited so that when they see these awards they are like ‘Oh, I want to get involved too.” Hamby said. “FFA is not just for students who want to be production farmers. FFA also welcomes students who aspire to careers as teachers, doctors, scientists, business owners and more.”