As the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree shows an FFA member’s dedication to his or her chapter and state FFA association. It demonstrates the effort FFA members apply toward their supervised agricultural experience and the outstanding leadership abilities and community involvement they exhibited through their FFA career. American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence.
On Saturday, Oct. 27, Nathan Egan, Holly Fortin, Courtney Jones, Karinna Lepe and Callie Wemple, of the Susanville FFA, were among the more than 4,000 FFA members in the nation to be awarded the American FFA Degree.
This year marked the 91st National FFA Convention which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana with 66,000 members and guests
in attendance. In front of a crowd of more than 18,000 FFA members, parents and guests, degree recipients walked across center stage
in Lucas Oil Stadium to be presented with the American FFA Degree key by National FFA President Brianna Hulbert. Members were also congratulated by the other five National FFA officers and national FFA advisor Mr. Steve Brown.
Egan is the son of Richard and Holly Egan. Egan is a 2017 graduate of Lassen High School. He is currently a sophomore at San Diego State University working toward a BA in business management and is involved in the Kappa Alpha fraternity.
Egan has been an FFA member for five years and has earned more than $56,000 with his FFA projects, which included, market steers, breeding cattle and working as a ranch hand. Egan is looking forward to studying abroad and learning more about international business.
Holly Fortin is the daughter of Steve and Sandy Fortin. Fortin is a 2017 graduate of Lassen High School. She is currently in her second year at California State University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo majoring in Agribusiness. She is currently a part of the agribusiness management club.
Fortin has been an FFA member for five years and has earned more than $16,000 with her FFA projects which included market swine and working at Sierra Cascade Nursery. This summer she plans to head to North Carolina and work as an intern for the North Carolina Grower’s Association. Fortin is looking forward to a future career in the agriculture industry.
Courtney Jones is the daughter of Kevin and Shelly Jones. Jones is a 2017 graduate of Lassen High School. She has been working at Lassen Vet Hospital for three years and
will be taking her VTNE (Veterinary Technician National Exam) this November. She will then spend the next few years working as a Registered Vet Technician as well as attending college to complete her goal of becoming a veterinarian.
She currently attends Lassen Community College full time and will transfer to the University of Nevada, Reno to complete her bachelor’s degree and then continue toward her doctor of veterinary medicine at Colorado State University.
She has been an FFA member for five years and her SAE projects earned her more than $24,000 working at the vet clinic and raising both market goats and rabbits. After completing vet school, Jones plans on coming back to Susanville and hopefully, going back to Lassen Veterinary to continue working there as a veterinarian.
Karinna Lepe is the daughter of Raul and Edna Lepe. Lepe is a 2015 graduate of Lassen High School. She is currently in her junior year at California State University, Chico pursuing a degree in agriculture science and in agriculture education. Lepe has been an FFA member for seven years and has earned more than $22,000 with her FFA projects, which included market cattle, breeding cattle and working at the Lassen County Fairgrounds. Lepe is looking forward to a future career as a California high school agriculture teacher.
Callie Wemple is the daughter of Fred and Dena Wemple. Wemple is a 2016 graduate of Lassen High School. She attended the University of Jamestown in North Dakota for two years and will begin her junior year at the University of Nevada, Reno this January. Wemple plans to double major in business and criminal justice.
Wemple has been an FFA member for six years and has earned more than $20,000 with her FFA projects which included market swine and working at Wemple’s farms as well as at the Lassen County Fairgrounds. Wemple is looking forward to a future career in law enforcement.
To qualify for the American FFA degree takes years of hard work. The member must have already earned the State FFA Degree. The member must earn and productively invest $10,000 and have worked 2,250 hours on their projects as well as participated in 50 hours of community service.
They must exhibit leadership skills, have been active at the local, regional and state level and have been out of high school at least one year prior to the national convention where they will receive their degree. Less than ½ percent of FFA’s 649,355 current members will receive this prestigious degree, making it one of the organization’s highest honors.
FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.