CEDAR CITY — Kenadee Stubbs, an alumna of Cedar High School, was recognized for her leadership and years of participation in the FFA organization when she was awarded the American FFA Degree on Oct. 30.
The National FFA Organization is a nonprofit youth organization focused on agricultural education and career readiness. The organization’s president presented a certificate and gold key charm to Stubbs and other degree recipients at the 94th National FFA Convention.
“This is five years of work coming together for one little moment at national convention, so there was a lot of excitement leading up to it,” Stubbs said. “Being able to get the award, it’s kind of the top thing. I did it. I made it, and it’s so cool.”
Less than 1% of FFA members earn the American FFA degree, and Stubbs faced the added challenge of completing the requirements while helping reestablish her school’s FFA chapter.
“Kenadee is the first one in our reestablished chapter to win this award,” said McKayla Plewe, Cedar High School FFA adviser. “It’s one of the highest honors that can be bestowed upon an FFA member. If you think of it in education terms, the American degree is pretty much the Ph.D of all FFA awards.”
Up until her senior year, Stubbs had to travel from Cedar High to Canyon View High School for agricultural classes and to participate in the only operating FFA chapter in the city.
Plewe was hired at Cedar High in 2019 and enlisted Stubbs and about 30 other students to reestablish the school’s FFA chapter. While Cedar has a long history with FFA, the program had all but disappeared in recent years after Canyon View opened its doors.
“The mission of FFA is to develop students’ potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success,” Plewe said. “I would say that it instills confidence in students in what they love to do and want to do. And it gives them skills for their future that employers are looking for so that they can go out prepared for the workforce.”
American FFA Degree recipients must complete significant work-place learning and service following high school graduation. The criteria includes earning and investing at least $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience program and completing 50 hours of community service in addition to FFA and community activities.
Stubbs fulfilled the requirements for the award by working as a wildland firefighter and EMT. In addition, she has already begun giving back to the agricultural community through her role as vice president of the Utah State FFA Association.
Stubbs said that as a state officer, she and partner visit about 30 schools within the months of November and December and teach the kids about agriculture and the FFA.
“That’s really my favorite thing,” she said. “It’s given me the opportunity to travel my own state and see all the amazing things the FFA is doing throughout Utah.”
In the years since Stubb’s graduation, the Cedar High chapter has grown to include 71 members. Plewe said she has five current seniors who are on track to receive their own FFA degree as early as October 2023.
As for Stubbs, she said her goals are to seek permanent employment through the U.S. Forest Service and pursue higher education, possibly at Southern Utah University. She plans to stay actively involved in FFA and continue promoting the ideals she learned to love through her own participation.
“The values of the agricultural community is something that our country and our population is in need of,” she said. “I would not have the interview skills, the job skills or work ethic I have today unless it was for the FFA. I think if we could just instill that love, passion and work ethic into kids in our high schools, it would really change the future of our country.”
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