News Columns & Blogs

Top honors for SEHS FFA chapter

Big ups to Mike Buckley and Southeast High School’s FFA Chapter.

Out of more than 650 programs nationwide, SEHS was selected as the three-star winner in the National FFA Chapter Award program at the 84th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis last month.

Southeast FFA president Andrew Merrill and VP Wyatt Fulghum joined Buckley to accept the honor -- the highest level of accomplishment a chapter may achieve.

“This is a big deal,” said Buckley, the school’s FFA advisor for 17 years. “It shows the high level of proficiency these kids attained. They aim for it every year. It’s like getting to the Final Four.”

The National FFA Chapter Award program recognizes FFA chapters for developing and conducting a detailed program of activities that give opportunities for members to excel as a student, a chapter or in community development.

Formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization has more than 500,000 student members in nearly 7,500 chapters preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture.

n Marie Roberts is 90 years young. Cheers from children Deanna Roberts, Franklin Roberts, Sue Skidmore and Deborah Arnold.

n Speaking of Southeast, Gillian Palino, the international baccalaureate sophomore and Girl Scout for 11 years, attended the Girl Scouts National Council Convention in Houston.

She was one of 1,200 young women at the convention’s leadership institute.

By the way, the Girl Scouts will be 100 in 2012.

n Say it ain’t so! Traci Popp Kelle is about to hit the Big 4-0! The milestone lands Monday for the Manatee Elementary School cafe manager.

n Those are the sounds of wedding bells Saturday for Ballard Elementary fifth-grade teacher Amber Whirtley and Jessee Hatch, who will marry Saturday at Bishop Planetarium.

Her late grandmother, Norma Lloyd, will be there in spirit.

n Cashiering supervisor Carla Welke, the real brains at the Manatee clerk of courts, is 51.

n Speaking of wedding bells, former Manatee Sugar ‘Cane Lindsay Smith and former Marching ‘Cane drum major Steven Hussey say “I do” Saturday in Venice.

n Ralph Whittier, a World War II veteran and descendant of famous American poet John Greeneleaf Whittier, is 90. He and Josephine are married 42 years.

n John and Jacquelyn Flinn are bragging on son Colby, who won first in the Florida BASS Federation Nation nonboater category on Lake Tohopekaliga near Kissimmee.

The 17-year-old caught nine live bass for a winning total of 25.07 pounds, topping a field of 54 anglers.

n Sunshine Academy fourth-graders Brian Scott Greer and Hunter Lamphron are 10 Sunday.

First-grader Darius Allen is 6 and big brother Lorenz, an Imagine Charter School North Manatee eighth-grader, is 13.

Cheers from Sharon and Rob Greer, Kristen and John Lamphron, and Lorraine and Duane Allen.

n Teacher Barbara Sanders’ second-graders at Sea Breeze Elementary raised $400 and filled two boxes with food items for the Elks Feeding Empty Little Tummies campaign.

Vin’s People, is by local columnist Vin Mannix. He can be reached at 745-7055, or