Austin Cathcart chairs first FFA summit

Irmo native Austin Cathcart (left), Chairman of the first State FFA Officer Candidate Summit in South Carolina and a rising senior at Clemson University majoring in Agricultural Education, is shown here with State FFA Officer Candidates.

The inaugural State FFA Officer Candidate Summit in South Carolina convened at the White Oak Conference Center near Winnsboro May 10-11.

Twelve candidates vying for the 2019-20 State FFA Officer Team attended the event and spent time with state FFA officers Erica Wearing, Mariah Swygert, Peyton Busbee, Amanda Taylor and Jessie Comer who assisted with interview training and facilitated an orientation session on the responsibilities of a state FFA officer.

Clemson University Collegiate FFA members who had served as state FFA officers or collegiate FFA leaders, conducted other leadership training sessions including extemporaneous speaking, team activity and role playing.

Additionally, the candidates participated in break-out sessions on social media etiquette, meal etiquette, diversity, and agricultural advocacy conducted by Stephanie Sox and Elizabeth Wood with the SC Farm Bureau Federation.

Sponsors of the summit included the SC Farm Bureau, the SC Conservation Districts Foundation, Walter P. Rawl Farms, John W. Parris, Dr. David Frazier, Tarleton State College, South Carolina Advocates for Agriculture, and Dr. and Mrs. H. Wayne Beam.

The State FFA Officer Candidate Summit was a brain-child of Austin Cathcart of Irmo, an alumnus and former president of the Lexington-Richland School District Five FFA Chapter, and who has served as a past president of the SC FFA Association and outgoing president of the Clemson University Collegiate FFA Organization.

“Austin, a rising senior at Clemson University majoring in Agricultural Education, promoted the idea of a State FFA Officer Candidate Summit,”  said John W. Parris, director of the SC Agri-News Service. “He raised adequate funds to underwrite the event, planned the two day program, secured professionally qualified speakers and contracted with the White Oak Conference Center officials to use the excellent facilities”, he added.

State Agricultural Education Officials Billy Keels and Pat Earle attended the summit along with Jillian Lash, executive director of the SC FFA Association, and a number of agricultural educators who serve as FFA advisors.


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