Allentown FFA returns home with top honors

AHS students competed against best in U.S.

ALLENTOWN – Students in the Allentown FFA recently returned home with honors from the National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis.

With over 54,000 FFA (formerly Future Farmers of America) members, advisers, and other guests registered at this year’s convention, Allentown students had the chance to meet people interested in agriculture from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, according to Louise San Nicola, spokesperson for the Upper Freehold Regional School District.

During the convention, the Allentown FFA attended a career show, which provided them with information about colleges and businesses that specialize in agriculture and/or strongly support the FFA. Students also attended workshop sessions and heard from keynote speakers such as Dr. Rick Rigsby and Henry Winkler. The Beach Boys with John Stamos, Danielle Peck and Montgomery Gentry provided entertainment during the event, according to San Nicola.

“We are very proud of the Allentown FFA members who attended this year’s National FFA Convention,” San Nicola said. “Not only for their hard work and success within their contests, but for the outstanding way in which they represented New Jersey and Allentown High School while in Indianapolis.”

The Allentown FFA teams competed against others in various agriculture-related contests and returned from the convention with many honors. The Farm Business Management Team received a silver emblem for ranking 18th in the nation, with members Mike Zinner receiving a gold emblem for ranking 22nd in the nation, and Karis Byram and Matt Carney receiving silver emblems.

The Ag Sales Team received a silver emblem for ranking 18th in the nation, with individuals Abigail Chek receiving a gold emblem for ranking 43rd in the nation, Dustin Zukus and Kyle Rappleyea receiving silver emblems, and Tara Keener receiving a bronze emblem.

The Horse Judging Team received a bronze emblem, with individuals Lauren Duarte receiving a silver emblem, and Michelle Runge, Justine Sherer and Daniel Wolek receiving bronze emblems.

The Ag Issues Team received a silver emblem and was ranked within the top 10 in the nation, with individuals Josh Alster, Bridget Levine and Rachel Dey receiving silver emblems.

“This is the highest placing a New Jersey Team has ever received in the Ag Issues contest,” San Nicola said.

The Allentown FFA also received a three-star rating in the FFA National Chapter Award program, which puts it in the top 2 percent of the 7,242 chapters in the United States, according to San Nicola.

“The level of competition and competitors is at the highest level at the national convention,” San Nicola said. “Each state sends its top team to the competition.”