MOC Students Awarded Degrees at FFA Convention

MOUNT OLIVE- Edward Olive of Benson, NC and Alaina Airheart of Concord, NC recently received the American FFA Degree at the 83rd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. It is the highest degree awarded by the National FFA Organization and recognizes students’ demonstrated leadership abilities and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing, and service programs.

Less than one in 154 FFA members advance through their local chapter and state FFA degree programs to earn this national degree. Dr. Sandy Maddox, Interim Director of the Lois G. Britt Agribusiness Center at University of Mount Olive and Collegiate FFA Advisor, said of the honor, “The American FFA Degree, is awarded to the most dedicated for their achievement. Edward and Alaina exemplify leadership, dedication, and commitment to service that an award of this stature represents.”

Olive is the son of David and Gail Olive, and is currently a junior Agriscience Education Major at University of Mount Olive. He is a member of the South Johnston FFA Chapter and currently serves as President for University of Mount Olive’s Collegiate FFA Chapter.

Airheart is the daughter of Joe and Susan Airheart, and is currently a sophomore Agriscience Education Major at University of Mount Olive. She is a member of the Mount Pleasant High School FFA chapter and serves the Collegiate FFA as Vice-President.

Olive and Airheart received gold American FFA Degree keys and a certificate in a blue leatherette frame to commemorate the achievement. The recognition program is sponsored by Case Agriculture, The Progressive Farmer, Farm Credit, Pioneer and Syngenta, as a special project of the National FFA Foundation. The national FFA convention is the nation’s largest annual youth gathering, welcoming students, parents, and educators from all across the United States. This year’s convention attendance was 56,000 strong.

The National FFA Organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organization of 523,309 student members (and counting)—all preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business, and technology of agriculture—as part of 7,487 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988 in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.

University of Mount Olive is a private institution rooted in the liberal arts tradition with defining Christian values. The College, sponsored by the Convention of Original Free Will Baptists, has locations in Mount Olive, New Bern, Wilmington, Goldsboro, Research Triangle Park, Washington and Jacksonville. For more information, visit