Smyrna High FFA students won numerous awards for state contests while agriscience teachers and FFA advisors also received accolades at the state FFA awards breakfast July 26 at the Delaware State Fair.

The Smyrna FFA Chapter shined like the hot summer sun by having a successful showing at the 2013 Delaware State Fair, with numerous recognitions at the Delaware FFA Awards Breakfast held on Friday.

Individual, team, and school awards

Kyle Cadmus drove his way to first place in the Safe Tractor Operation CDE by operating a tractor along with a two- and four-wheel wagon and skid steer loader in a field with 14 statewide competitors. Cadmus will have the opportunity to compete in regional competition at the Eastern State Exposition in Springfield, Mass. this September.

The Smyrna FFA featured two state winning judging teams in the areas of livestock and horse evaluation.

The Livestock team, consisting of Morgan Jewell, Sarah McHale, Gabrielle Virdin and Jacey Young, captured top honors with individual recognition going to Virdin for placing first, Jewell placing second, Young third, and McHale sixth.

The Horse Judging team also captured first place with members Kaitlyn Garrison, Taylor Dixon, Gabrielle DiRusso and Heather Tolliver. Individual top recognition went to Garrison in third place, Dixon in fourth place and DiRusso in 11th. Both teams also earned the opportunity to travel to national competition.

Smyrna High School FFA members Jenna Scuse and Jared Zolper won first place in the AgriScience Fair team competition, which showcased scientific skills and analysis in the area of methane gas research. Their first place victory guarantees them a trip for further competition as well, at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, Ky. this October.

In other competitive events, the chapter fielded a variety of teams that included: ag mechanics, poultry, forestry, nursery landscaping, dairy showmanship and chapter display.

The Ag Mechanics CDE team consisting of Elizabeth Blake, Amber Counsellor, Jake Mitchell and Tyler Niblett placed second in the state. The second prize also means that this team will travel to regional competition in September to compete at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Mass.

The Environmental Science team placed third, led by Heather Tolliver (eighth individually), Danielle Lubbers (ninth individually), Ryan Womax, and Colin Murphy.

The Poultry Evaluation team of Laura Federico, Cassidy Middleton, Alison Sayers and Allison Wheatley finished fourth in team competition, with individual honors going to Laura Federico for placing 10th.

The Environmental Science team placed third, led by Heather Tolliver (8th individually), Danielle Lubbers (9th individually), Ryan Womax, and Colin Murphy.

The Forestry team of Courtney Alfree, Ryan Harris, Jenna Keskemety and Ryan Womax placed fifth in competition held at Brecknock County Park.

The Nursery Landscaping team of Amanda Hotaling, Gabby Ramsey, Jennifer Savin and Kyle Cadmus placed sixth in the state.

Smyrna FFA Chapter member Brenden Cook received fourth place for his efforts in the Dairy Cattle Handlers Showmanship event.

The chapter also placed first in the Delaware Agricultural Products Display competition with its Wheel of Fortune game show theme. The display will be featured at the National FFA Convention's Hall of States exhibit hall in Louisville, Ky.

Smyrna FFA members were also successful in non-FFA events at the State Fair.

Sarah McHale won awards in the beef department for the Supreme Heifer, Grand Jr., and Open Champion, and also in pygmy goats with the Champion Junior Wether and Reserve Overall Wether.

Morgan Jewell won the Grand Showman title, Reserve Angus Heifer Junior & Open Division, and Champion Bred & Owned Heifer.

Colleen Donahue wont the Grand Champion Hereford Heifer title.

Brendan Cook won titles for the Grand Champion Jersey Junior Division and Reserve Champion Jersey in the Open Division.

Educators and business honored

Smyrna High Agricultural Structures teacher Jay Davis, past president of the Delaware Association of AgriScience Educators (DAAE), was honored with the 2013 Delaware AgriScience Outstanding Teacher Award.

The Smyrna/Clayton Southern States Cooperative was also recognized with the Delaware Association of AgriScience Educators 2013 Outstanding Cooperation award, for an agricultural business that assists schools featuring agricultural education programs. The award was accepted by E.J. Hurd, who is an Alumni FFA member and graduate of Smyrna High School.

Russ Stinson, longtime agriculture teacher at Smyrna High School was unable to attend the awards program, but was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the DAAE organization. Stinson's contributions to Smyrna continue outside the classroom, through his work with the Smyrna FFA Alumni and volunteer work with the American Legion Ambulance Station 64.

FFA Fair exhibits

When it came to growing, arranging, harvesting or building fair exhibits, the Smyrna FFA Chapter had a number of members who supplied competitive FFA entries. Premium ribbon winners included:

Zach Boyles - 6th place, alfalfa hay;

Paul Carter - 3rd place, welding project;

Tyler Cox - 5th place, Timothy hay; 6th place, welding project;

Gabrielle DiRusso - 3rd place, foliage plant;

Taylor Dixon – 2nd place, hanging basket greater than seven inches; 3rd place, hanging basket less than seven inches; 4th place, Timothy hay;

Nick Mannering - 4th place, welding project;

Laura McClements - 4th place, stalk of corn;

Sarah McHale - 2nd place, container garden; 3rd place, unique plant;

DJ Rigney - 5th place, welding project;

Alison Sayers - 5th place, gallon of barley; 6th place, gallon of soybeans;

Jenna Scuse - 2nd place, silk arrangement; 2nd place, silk round bouquet; 3rd place, silk cascade; 4th place, shadowbox display; 4th place, woodworking project; 6th place, Timothy hay; 6th place, mixed hay; 6th place, brown eggs;

Lee Severson - 1st place, red tomatoes; 1st place, eggplant; 2nd place, gallon of wheat; 3rd place, green string beans; 3rd place, yellow squash; 5th place, redskin potatoes; 6th place, vegetable garden display;

Heather Tolliver - 5th place, hanging basket less than seven inches;

Allison Wheatley - 3rd place, gallon of shelled corn; 3rd place, banana peppers; 4th place, gallon of barley; 4th place, yellow squash;

Jared Zolper - 3rd place, mixed hay.