Grown Here at Home: Carroll County Middle School FFA earns national title

Published: Nov. 13, 2023 at 8:23 AM EST
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CARROLL CO., Va. (WDBJ) - The Carroll County Middle School FFA is the top Model of Excellence Middle School chapter in the nation. The team couldn’t believe it when their name was announced.

Madelyn Caviness still remembers how the announcement was read, “And they announced us, and they were like number one, Carroll County Middle School,” she said.

Carroll County Middle School FFA Advisor Makenzie Carter was in her classroom with her students watching the awards ceremony online. She said she was trying to record the ceremony on her phone, when in all the excitement, the phone ended up falling on the floor. “Everybody was screaming. It was fun. We’re very proud of them.”

The team gave a presentation at the 96th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana; showcasing some of the work the chapter has done for the community.

“It was great to tell everybody about how we do things in our chapter and all our accomplishments,” said Magen Key.

The chapter hosts events that are fun, but have a great purpose.

“Our students decorated a tree and community members got to vote which one was the best with food donations for the American Cancer Society,” said Kari Alderman, who helped write the script for the competition.

They don’t do all these things to receive an award, it’s all rooted in service and love for their hometown.

“When we do stuff like the petting zoos, seeing the little kids’ faces whenever they get to see the animals that I have been raised with, it all comes back to community. It’s made a big impact on me, personally,” explained Natalie Culler.

“With FFA it’s literally a family. Everyone cares about everyone. Everyone is willing to help. Everyone is willing to work,” Caviness said.

However, receiving national recognition for their work isn’t so bad either.

“We’ve always had phenomenal kids, but the stars really just lined up this time,” said Carroll County Middle School FFA Advisor John Carpenter.

Myra Leonard is a longtime supporter of the FFA. She was over the moon when she heard the news. “It’s still unbelievable that little old Carroll County is the best middle school chapter in the nation,” she said.

The team will be the grand marshals for the Christmas parade on Saturday, December 2.

Click here to read our previous story about the team leading up to qualifying for the national competition.