Five TAHS Freshman Receive FFA Jackets


The five first-year jacket recipients displaying their Official FFA jackets. Left to right: Catie Ewing, Jaden Williams, Gavin Woomer, and Justin Jackson. Missing from photo: Kevin Killinger.

Five Tyrone Area FFA Chapter first-year members were a part of changing the sea of white to a sea of blue corduroy as they received their Official FFA jackets during the 91st Pennsylvania FFA Mid-Winter Convention at the 2020 Pennsylvania Farm Show on January 6th in Harrisburg, PA.

The Tyrone FFA recipients included freshman Catie Ewing, Gavin Woomer, Jaden Williams, Justin Jackson, and Kevin Killinger.

The Pennsylvania FFA Alumni conducts a Blue Jacket campaign to sponsor FFA jackets for first-year FFA members. In order to be selected to receive their jackets, members must submit an application that asks various questions including “What does the FFA jacket mean to you?”  

When asked this question, the first-year jacket recipients had a wide variety of responses.

Catie Ewing: The FFA jacket is very special to me as it allows me to show my pride in the organization and represents a legacy of the FFA Organization.  Daily, I hear about the great opportunities FFA has to offer, as both of my parents were in FFA and served as State FFA Officers. There stories about trips, giving back to the community, and advocating for agriculture have not gone past my ears; even though I know they think I may not be listening.  I can see how our chapter is engaged in giving and working with the community and in school. Even though I’m not in the program daily, I am experiencing how those who wear the FFA jacket and fellow classmates are developing their knowledge base to be sound advocates for our industry. This jacket will continue the legacy in our family and allow me to experience and create new stories to share with friends and someday my own children.  

Gavin Woomer: Since as far back as I can remember the FFA jacket has been seen in my family and to me it signifies traditions, honesty, and hard work. Though agriculture has changed and continues to change, it is still rooted in the traditions of farming. All advancements have been made to assist farmers in producing more products for a growing population. As I view the FFA jacket I see that tradition and want to continue to foster the farmer, while using modern advancements to make a positive impact on the community and world.  Hard work has always been part of my life, but the more I’m in the agriculture program and see FFA members, I have come to realize that they pride themselves on hard work and running the organization. Our advisor truly believes that this organization is for the students, driven by the students, and about the students. She guides us, but ultimately it is our hard work that makes the difference. It would be an honor to receive an FFA jacket and to continue on the traditions in my family.

Jaden Williams: I am fortunate to have a sister who is a year older than me and has been active in our FFA Chapter. As I have watched her earn her Greenhand FFA degree, receive medals for her SAE’s, and showcase her confidence while wearing her FFA Jacket; I knew I wanted to be part of this FFAmily at Tyrone Area High School. I realized the true meaning of this FFAmily after my Dad passed away unexpectedly in the Spring of 2019. From the outpouring of support and the simple gestures of just welcoming us back to school without asking questions but treating as if our World had not just turned upside down; drove that desire to enroll in the program.  Because of my honors courses, I was only able to schedule a class during 8th period, which is for 8th-grade students. Mrs. Hoy worked with the guidance office and enrolled me as an independent student in her 8th period. She actually did this for several students. What teacher would take on two classes at the same time? Through this class, I’m able to work side-by-side with upperclassmen and learn about our industry. Tyrone Area FFAmily is very special for so many reasons. Receiving an FFA jacket at the Mid-Winter FFA Convention would be a true honor. The iconic jacket would give me the confidence to step out of my shy, quiet personality and take on leadership roles and opportunities. I’ve grown a lot in the last few months and even serve on our student committee to develop alumni and supporter events and activities. I promise to honor and uphold the values set forth by the FFA Organization and continue to strive to make a positive difference in my community.  

Justin Jackson: The FFA jacket is very special to me as it allows me to show my pride in the organization not only to our supporters but to those who may not understand the impact this organization can make on youth.  As a child, I listened to stories told by my uncle, cousin, and Dad about the great opportunities FFA had to offer; including my Dad’s honor in representing Maryland at the National Convention as they were the State’s winning Horse and Dairy Cattle Judging teams.  In just a few weeks of being in the program, I can see how our chapter is engaged in giving and working with the community and in the school. This is more than just a club, its a community of youth who come from all walks of life and are finding a common ground of premier leadership, personal growth, and career success.  Shaye Loose, my cousin, received her FFA jacket many years ago and continues to share her love of the organization. Through the FFA, she was led into the animal industry and now works as a veterinarian technician. I can still remember her many visits dressed in Official FFA Dress, which actually sparked my interest in being in agricultural education.  The iconic jacket is not only a rich history in my family but helps make it known to the community and supporters of Tyrone Area High School that I am dedicated and proud of our Tyrone Area FFAmily. This jacket will continue the legacy in our family and allow me to experience and create new stories to share with friends.

Kevin Killinger: In the fall of my 8th-grade year, I was at an event in downtown Tyrone, where I was assisting my family and the Rotary Club with Farm City Day.  I met this group of students who all had FFA t-shirts on and invited me in like I was one of them and spent the entire day with the members. As I had the opportunity to meet the Ag teacher and eventually enroll in an 8th grade – 9 week Ag course, I realized there was much more to this program.  The FFA jacket symbolizes unity and commitment. I felt right at home with the FFA members in the fall day of my 8th-grade year, but as I watched members preparing for trips, listened to their excitement about the event about to take place, or sat in awe as some had the nerve to present speeches to a group of 8th graders; I took a closer look and found myself searching for the blue corduroy jacket.  I could see it from a mile away and knew I could interact with them and be at home. Having my own FFA jacket and sporting it with pride at conferences, conventions, and banquets would share the entire school and community that I am dedicated to and committed to the FFA code of conduct and high standards of leadership. I also know that if and when I falter, I have brothers and sisters who wear the same jacket at my side to guide me down the right path and will not condone me, but make me a better individual.  In my opinion, the FFA jacket is just awesome and will be worn with honor and pride.