Kids in the News: Maryland Career and Technology Students Compete at National Future Farmers of America Convention

Kids in the News
Maryland Career and Technology Students Compete at National Future Farmers of America Convention

Eighty-two Maryland students competed in Career Development Events (CDE) at the 78th Annual Future Farmers of American (FFA) Convention last month after competing in local, state, and regional events to qualify. Maria Stevens of Walkersville High School in Frederick County was named the top student in the nation in the Floriculture Career Development Event.
Career Development Events are competitions that bring real-world experience to the subjects discussed in the classroom. Maria tested her knowledge in the production and retailing of flowers, plants, and foliage, including a general knowledge exam on the floriculture industry, identifying plant materials, and demonstrating problem solving and decision making, employment and customer service skills, and the ability to work in a team. She will receive a scholarship to further her education at the institution of her choice. The team was ranked sixth overall.
Similarly, Parker Welch of Queen Anne's County High School was ranked first in oral reasons, a subdivision of the Dairy Cattle Evaluation CDE and Rebecca Funk of Clear Spring High School in Washington County was ranked second in the forestry analysis event, a subdivision of the Forestry CDE. Maryland FFA students participated in all 24 National Career Development Events. Other participants received a combined 12 gold medals, 33 silver medals, and 37 bronze medals.
Additionally, four students achieved the highest degree awarded to an active member of FFA. Aaron "Bud" Mathews from Walkersville High School, Jason Ridinger from Francis Scott Key High School, Julie Roop from Catoctin High School, and Ryan Shank from Clear Spring High School each achieved this degree through their work in the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. An SAE is an outside-of-the-classroom project where students begin to gain actual work experience through their own enterprise or production system or through placement in an established business.
"We should be proud of these students and teams for representing Maryland so well in this national competition," said State Superintendent of Schools Nancy. S. Grasmick. "Their progression from local to state to regional and, finally, to national competition showcases the quality of our career and technology education programs and the importance of student groups, such as FFA, in helping our students prepare for the real world."
The travel to the National Convention for all participants is sponsored by the Maryland Agricultural Fair Board in addition to the individual event sponsors.
FFA is a national youth organization of 490,017 student members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture with 7,223 local chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. In Maryland there are 1403 members from 30 chapters in 16 counties. FFA strives 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. Visit or for more information. The goals of FFA are in line with Maryland's premier Career and Technology Education programs.
For a list of individual and team placings in all 24 categories, please go to and click on the attachment to the news release.