During the 91st Missouri FFA Convention, Kensie Darst of Aurora was named a 2019-20 state FFA vice president. Darst is a member of the Aurora FFA Chapter. Her advisors are Samuel Percival and Kristy Sivils. She is the daughter of Shawn and Theresa Darst, and Rebecca Darst and Jason Ellingsworth.

Darst’s supervised agricultural experience program consists of working as a sales associate at a local hardware store and livestock caretaker at Breezin’ B Simmental Farm.

She has served as area secretary, and chapter president, vice president and historian.

Darst competed at the state level in the grasslands evaluation contest and the agronomy and horse evaluation and selection career development events. She received Group I ratings in both CDEs. She also competed at the state level in the advanced prepared public speaking leadership development event and the Missouri Association of Fairs and Festivals Fall Speaking Contest. She was area winner of the agricultural education proficiency award. Darst has attended the Missouri FFA Public Speaking Academy and Missouri FFA Leadership Adventure.

In addition to FFA, Darst is a member of National Honor Society, Future Teachers of America and the high school softball team. She is also a member of the American Simmental Association, Missouri Junior Cattlemen’s Association, Missouri Junior Simmental Association and Missouri Junior Red Angus Association. She attends Aurora Faithful Gospel Church and is involved in the youth group.

After graduation, Darst plans to study agricultural education at the University of Missouri, Columbia.

Awards

The Aurora FFA chapter represented the school well at the state convention, coming home with a handful of awards, including a Top Chapter Award.

Aurora FFA placed 32nd out of 347 chapters in the state to earn the award at the 91st Missouri FFA Convention. Only 10 percent of state chapters receive a top chapter designation each year.

The National Chapter Award Program is designed to recognize FFA chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. These chapters improve chapter operations using the National Quality Chapter Standards and a Program of Activities that emphasize growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture. Chapters are rewarded for providing educational experiences for the entire membership. This award is sponsored by FCS Financial.

The Aurora FFA growing leaders activities included a career day. Members of the community were invited to speak to different agricultural education classes about their agricultural career. Students gained an understanding of available careers in their community.

The chapter performed activities in the strengthening agriculture category including Mission to Inform. Every month, FFA members developed and presented radio programs highlighting chapter events and student achievements during their community spotlight session at the KSWM radio station.

Building communities activities included Come and Dine. FFA members collaborated with local businesses and churches to serve food to hungry citizens in the community. The chapter sponsored 213 meals at the event and FFA members helped to serve a total of 2,353 meals.

The top chapters compete for the National FFA Chapter Award. The winners will be announced this fall at the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Elsewhere at the convention, Aurora took home first place in the nursery/landscape CDE. The team members are Riley Pope, Elizabeth Martin, Madison Hartwigsen and Caitlyn Kaye. Individually, Pope placed first, Martin placed second, Hartwigsen placed third and Kaye placed 15th out of 188 participants.

The chapter also placed second in the environmental and natural resources career development event. Darst, Kaylin Francisco, Ethan Mooneyham and Jacob Johnson made up the team.