The Smyrna High School FFA Chapter brought home a variety of awards and ribbons including first place in the chapter competition, presented at state FFA Awards Breakfast Friday at the 100th Delaware State Fair.

The Smyrna High School FFA Chapter brought home a variety of awards and ribbons including first place in the chapter competition, presented at state FFA Awards Breakfast Friday at the 100th Delaware State Fair.

The Smyrna chapter was recognized as this year’s first place National Chapter for Delaware, receiving a gold rating and the right to be recognized at the National FFA Convention & Expo in October in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Smyrna FFA Chapter was founded in 1976 and makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. The chapter consists of 468 agricultural education students at Smyrna High School and is under the direction of FFA advisors Keith Shane, Jay Davis, Sarah Bell and Kellie Michaud.

On Friday, a variety of Smyrna High FFA students and teams were recognized at the Delaware State Fairgrounds for their outstanding performances throughout the summer months leading up to the awards breakfast.

AgriScience Fair

Three members of the Smyrna High School FFA won first place winners in the AgriScience Fair, which showcased scientific skills and analysis in the areas of agricultural research: Gordon Fletcher, Heather Fletcher and Delaney Tome. Placing second in the research category were Raelyn Wiley and Nick Shane.

Agricultural issues

The Smyrna FFA agricultural issues team with their topic, "Is All Insecurity Worth All the Biosecurity?" placed first with team members Kaylee Davis, Sarah Dinsmore, Zane Kerr, Brynn Rifino and Brooke Wix. Their forum now qualifies them to compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana in October. Prior to their competition, the Ag Issues team presented five community forums to the Holly’s Club of Smyrna, Delaware Department of Agriculture, Kent Conservation District - NRCS and FSA Offices, the University of Delaware’s Cooperative Extension Service and the Smyrna-Clayton Rotary Club.

Agricultural mechanics

Smyrna High School also captured first place in the state agricultural mechanics career development event with team members Chris Marr, Aiden Pepta, Logan Strauss, and Gabe West. The competition tested their knowledge and skills in small engine troubleshooting, electrical wiring, plumbing and welding. Their efforts also ensure further competition at the National FFA Convention in the fall.

Livestock evaluation

The livestock evaluation team placed third with members Anthony Buhr, Cheyenne Donaghue, Maria Sterling and Austin Vendrick. This competition allows members to judge large farm animals, as well as cooperatively classify livestock as “keep” or “cull” for market and breeding purposes based on physical characteristics and records. Individual top 10 placings for the team included Maria Sterling in sixth and Austin Vendrick in ninth.

Horse evaluation

The horse evaluation career development team placed third as well, with members Abby Conway, Sydney Kirch, Robin Logue and Rayne Thompson. The event consisted of judging six classes of equine, completing a team test and delivering two sets of oral reasons. Individual top 10 placings for the team included Rayne Thompson in sixth and Abby Conway in eighth.


The nursery/landscaping team placed fourth with members Gabryele Carter, Sky Jackson, Delaney Tome and Raelyn Wiley. The event was comprised of a written exam, team activity, tool and plant material identification. Individual top 10 placings for the team included Gabryele Carter in fourth and Delaney Tome in ninth.

Dairy showmanship

Kaylee Dulin represented Smyrna FFA in the dairy showmanship event and placed fifth individually. The event demonstrated her skills and awareness in the show ring when working with dairy cattle.

Tractor driving

Taylor Davis and Chris Marr drove their way to sixth and seventh place respectively in the safe tractor operation career development event. This event was comprised of a written test, parts identification, using a skid steer, front end tractor loader and operating tractors with two and four wheel wagons against other statewide competitors in a course designed to test speed, accuracy and safety around obstacles.

FFA Fair exhibits

The Smyrna FFA Chapter featured two fine chapter displays in the FFA Centre that were crafted by members Taylor Davis, Justin Foersch, Philip Gaughan, Chris Marr and Brynn Rifino. The Delaware Agricultural Products Display placed second, only missing first by three-tenths of a point. The FFA Educational display was entitled, "I Believe In Leadership…" and will be used for future membership recruitment at Smyrna High School.

When it came to growing, designing, harvesting or building fair exhibits, there were a number of Smyrna High School FFA members who supplied competitive entries. This year the Smyrna AgriScience Program featured 11 FFA members, who were able to receive a “fair” amount in judging premiums awarded by the Delaware State Fair. Premium ribbon winners included:

Gabryele Carter - 1st place small hanging foliage basket;

Kaylee Davis - 2nd place zucchini squash;

Trevor Dickson - 3rd place large interior woodworking project;

Megan Dinsmore - 1st place beets; 4th place carrots; 4th place large hanging foliage basket;

Sarah Dinsmore - 1st place silk flower arrangement; 2nd place hanging silk flower arrangement; 3rd place small hanging foliage basket; 5th place FFA poster;

Heather Fletcher - 2nd place medium white eggs;

Lily Griffiths - 1st place potted plant; 2nd place dried arrangement; 3rd place shadow box display;

Zane Kerr - 1st place large white eggs; 2nd place watermelon; 5th place cabbage;

Rebecca King - 1st place career poster; 3rd place small exterior woodworking project; 3rd place toolbox; 3rd place biotechnology poster;

Brynn Rifino - 2nd place cherry tomatoes; 3rd place cucumbers;

Grant Robinson - 3rd place medium white eggs;

Trey Thompson - 1st place Italian tomatoes; 3rd place cabbage; 4th place white onions; 6th place hot peppers; 6th place white sweet corn;

Delaney Tome - 1st place extra large brown eggs, 4th place large brown eggs; 5th place medium brown eggs;

Raelyn Wiley - 1st place ice box watermelon; 3rd place white onions; 3rd place yellow onions; 6th place cherry tomatoes.

Smyrna FFA animal exhibitors

Besides showcasing the hard work that goes into growing, designing and building projects, a number of Smyrna FFA members were also responsible for exhibiting farm animals at the Delaware State Fair. The following members took to the show ring and gave it their all in their respective areas:

Beef cattle - Kendra Mounts, Brynn Rifino and Nicholas Shane;

Dairy cattle - Kaylee Dulin.

Goats - Abby Conway and Delaney Tome;

Swine - Kaitlyn Collins, Cheyenne Donaghue, Andrew Miles and Maria Sterling.