Mike and Laura Bedwell of Vilonia said, for them, FFA is a family affair. The couple didn't kn0w much about FFA until their oldest daughter, Ashten, who will graduate this year, became a member. Now, their younger daughter, Chloe, is just getting started and the couple are looking forward to having another three years participating alongside her.
“We love everything about FFA,” Laura Bedwell said.
This week, the Vilonia High School FFA named the Bedwells as the Farm Family of the Year. The family raises rabbits. Also, Mr. Bedwell works in a cabinet shop and makes items for the FFA auction.
VHS alumni Drew List, vice-president of the Northwest District State FFA, served as a speaker at the annual banquet and program held Tuesday night.
“You know what I have noticed about people—we don’t always finish the things that we start,” he said.
He shared a story about a three-year goal set by him and another couple of FHA members when they were in their junior year. Forestry was a new Career Development Event (CDE), he said. FFA sponsor Harold McCain encouraged the three to do their best qualifying them to place, at least, in the top three in the state in forestry. However, it wasn’t until the third year they placed third. They tried hard every year, List said. The third year, List said, they knew it was their last chance and they gave it their all.
“We practiced every spare minute we could find,” he said. “It was our senior year and our last opportunity to win the state forestry title. Finally, the state competition rolled around. We placed third. We didn’t win but we got to our goal. That might not mean much to someone else but it did to us. One of the best parts of CD competition might not be the competition itself.”
In closing, he talked about motivation. He encouraged audience members to find something that motivates them and to “go for it.”
“There are endless ways for us to stay motivated. You just have to find something that motivates you,” he concluded.
Vilonia’s 2016-17 president Bailee Jo Thorn ended the program saying that FFA has taught her five things including integrity, humility, sacrifice, the importance of having faith and determination.
“I learned that I am so much more capable of doing things than I once thought,” Thorn added.
Many team awards and individual awards were announced including:
Outstanding goat showman was awarded to Caitlin Balentine; lamb went to Erin Nolan; cattle to Trey Kelly; swine to Allyson Sellers and rabbit to Ashten Bedwell.
Evan Moix received the McEntire/Turner Scholarship.
Zac Bryant received the Jesse Bush Scholarship.
Connor Balentine received the Dekalb Award.
Jason Wooley was named as the Honorary Chapter Farmer.
Prior to dismissing, it was said that additional auction items are needed for the upcoming auction and dinner set for May 6.
After the banquet concluded, McCain made note that Aaron McNew and Jason Rail are the second and third students “in the history of FFA in Vilonia,” to ever win two state championships. They both were members of the 2016 electrical team and the 2017 mechanical team. The first student was a girl, he said, and it happened several years ago.