The New York State FFA convention was virtual this year, but that didn’t stop Byron-Bergen FFA members from garnering honors and awards. Rachel Best and Madelynn Pimm both earned Empire Degrees, the first Byron-Bergen FFA members to do so since its inception in 2017. Justin Deleo, Gary Donofrio, Carter Kuipers, and Brendan Pimm also competed in the Junior Tool Identification competition.
The Empire Degree is the highest honor students can receive at the State level. To receive this honor, FFA participants must meet several requirements including longevity within the organization, 360 hours of agricultural education above the 9th grade level, 25 hours of community service, serving as an FFA officer, delivering a speech on an agricultural topic, and be in excellent academic standing. Additionally, Best has served as the FFA District 9 President for this year and Pimm received a Silver Proficiency Award in Sheep Production.
“Receiving an Empire Degree is a very big deal,” said Byron-Bergen FFA Advisor Jeffrey Parnapy. “These two students are dedicated to the field of agriculture and worked very hard to earn this prestigious title.”
In the Junior Tool Identification competition, the team of Deleo and Kuipers scored high and placed third in the state. Deleo also ranked fourth individually.
“I really can’t say enough about the enthusiasm and dedication of our FFA members,” said Parnapy. “Placing third and fourth in state-wide competitions is amazing and I’m excited to see what the future brings for our FFA chapter.”