Calhoun Falls Charter and Dixie FFA members visit with state Sen. Mike Gambrell in his office during National FFA week.

Calhoun Falls Charter and Dixie High School agricultural education students attended the S.C. Future Farmers of America-sponsored State Legislators Appreciation Ceremony in Columbia on Feb. 22.

The students accompanied by Nancy McCannon and Calvert Sherard, agricultural education instructors and FFA advisors at high schools, began the day by visiting with Sen. Mike Gambrell and Rep. Craig Gagnon.

“We thanked them for their support of Agricultural Education and learned about current issues that the State Assembly is discussing,” Calhoun Falls Charter President Philip Rhodes said.

All students were then introduced to the members of the House of Representatives, while in session, by Gagnon and later introduced to the members of the Senate, while in session, by Gambrell and Sen. Floyd Nicholson.

Following the visits, the groups joined the about a thousand SC FFA members and advisors from throughout South Carolina on the north steps of the State Capitol for a special recognition ceremony. The event got under way with the FFA opening ceremony conducted by the 16-17 state officers at the Statehouse, which included Joey McCannon, State Secretary from the Pendleton Chapter; a prayer by Audrey Cutlip; and a rendition of the "National Anthem" by Emily McDaniel from the McBee Chapter.

Molly Spearman, state superintendent of education, applauded the FFA organization for its hard work and concern for the welfare of the community. She said, “I am confident in our future because I know South Carolina is producing exceptional young people who will be able to successfully lead our state in the future.”

Hugh Weathers, state commissioner of agriculture, presented the Governor's Proclamation to the state FFA officers on behalf of Gov. Henry McMaster. This was in recognition of National FFA Week Feb. 19-25. Weathers said, “Your attendance here today shows you care about South Carolina agriculture”.

The week of George Washington’s birthday was designated as National FFA Week in 1947 at a National FFA Board of Directors meeting. FFA Week always runs from Saturday to Saturday and encompasses Washington’s Birthday. The following day celebrations were held to Honor the Smith-Hughes Act, which was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson 100 years earlier to allow Agricultural Education to be taught in the public schools.

The FFA positively influences the young people of America by developing character and leadership skills, and preparing members for successful careers. FFA members are the leaders of tomorrow. Through agricultural education and hands-on learning, FFA members are preparing for more than 300 career opportunities in the food, fiber and natural resources industries of agriculture. With more than 630,000 members, the organization has a history of service and a legacy of leadership.