Students win dozens of team and individual honors presented at Delaware State Fair

The Smyrna FFA Chapter brought home a variety of awards and colorful ribbons including the first place chapter award after a successful showing at the 2016 Delaware State Fair.

The awards were presented at the Delaware FFA Awards Breakfast on Friday at the fairgrounds in Harrington.

Smyrna High School won first place in Delaware in the National Chapter Award contest, which verifies that the chapter completed at least 15 different activities during the school year. The award recognition also provides the Smyrna FFA with the opportunity to be in the national spotlight, as two chapter officers will be recognized on stage at the National FFA Convention shown on the RFD-TV Network.

Nine members of the Smyrna High School FFA won first place awards in the AgriScience Fair, which showcased scientific skills and analysis in agricultural research. The team of Cassidy Cook and Hannah Walker won first place overall and will represent Delaware in regional competition this fall. Along with Cook and Walker, first place winners from Smyrna High included Taylor Davis, George Class-Peters, Erica Malloy, Erin Smallwood, Wade Solloway, Trey Thompson and Ryan Wheatley, while Jessica Bright placed second.

The Smyrna FFA Agricultural Issues team won first place with the topic, “Agricultural Education: Teacher Shortage.” Team members Jessica Bright, Taylor Davis, Grant Dinsmore, Erin Smallwood and Trey Thompson will now compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October.

The Smyrna FFA Agronomy, Horse Evaluation and Livestock Evaluation Career Development Event (CDE) teams all placed second and qualified for the regional competition in September at the Eastern States Exposition in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Agronomy judging team consisted of Ashley Hurd, Wade Solloway, Ryan Wheatley and Dylan Wilson, with Wheatley placing second, Hurd fifth, Wilson eighth, and Solloway 11th.

The Horse Evaluation team included George Class-Peters, Kaylee Pierce, Taylor Smith, and Hannah Walker with Walker finishing third, Class-Peters seventh, and Smith 10th.

The Livestock Evaluation team was comprised of Taylor Brittingham, Cassie DiMattia, Savannah Pollard, and Wade Solloway with Solloway finishing fifth, Pollard seventh, DiMattia eighth, and Brittingham 11th.

In the State FFA Nursery & Landscaping competition, the team of Gabby DiRusso, Kathryn Emerson, Josh Meixell and Tyler Meixell placed third, just three points away from taking second place. Emerson finished sixth, DiRusso seventh, Tyler Meixell ninth, and Josh Meixell 10th.

Dakota Correll drove his way to third place again this year in the Safe Tractor Operation CDE, maneuvering tractor and towing wagons on a course testing speed, accuracy and safety around obstacles. Smyrna’s Gabby DiRusso was the only female to compete and placed eighth.

The Dairy Cattle evaluation team of Cassidy Cook, Kaylee Dulin, Erin Smallwood and Trey Thompson placed fifth.

In Dairy Showmanship, Payton Dixon placed second, Jayden Dixon finished third and Andrew Miles finished seventh.

The Forestry team of Rebecca Calderon, Kasey Euren, Josh Johnson and Nathan Metts placed third, with Calderon finishing sixth, Metts ninth, and Euren 11th in an event that evaluates tree species, diseases, equipment and land surveying.

The Agricultural Mechanics team of Jake Brown, Dakota Correll, Ryan McNatt and Dylan Snow placed third in the state in the contest that involved small engine troubleshooting, plumbing installation, and welding.

For a record-setting fourth year in a row, the Smyrna FFA Chapter delivered a blue ribbon performance in the Delaware Agricultural Products Display competition with its “Spanning The State” bridge theme. The display will be featured at the National FFA Convention’s Hall of States exhibition in Indianapolis, Indiana.

The Smyrna FFA also exhibited a display in the Environmental Science category “Water You Doing?” and received a second place ribbon.


When it came to growing, arranging, harvesting or building fair exhibits, there were a number of Smyrna High School FFA members who supplied competitive entries. This year the Smyrna AgriScience Program and its members were able to receive over $1,000 in judging premiums awarded by the Delaware State Fair.

Premium ribbon winners included:

Jake Brown - 1st Concrete Product, 1st Electrical Display, and 2nd Plumbing Display.

George Class-Peters - 6th Potted Foliage.

Cassidy Cook - 2nd Red Tomatoes, 3rd Gallon of Wheat, 3rd Timothy Hay, 3rd Bundle of Wheat, 4th Carrots, 4th Gallon of Barley, 4th Bundle of Barley, and 5th Sweet Corn.

Dakota Correll - 1st Timothy Hay and 6th Orchard Grass Hay.

Taylor Davis - 2nd Concrete Product, 2nd Electrical Display, 3rd Plumbing Display, 4th Gallon of Wheat, 5th Brown Eggs, 5th Bundle of Wheat

Kathryn Emerson - 3rd Carrots and 5th Beets.

Angela Haldas - 2nd Metal Tool Box and 3rd Block Welding.

Wei Ting Hsieh - 2nd White Eggs.

Bryan Horton - 6th Block Welding.

Derron Marvel - 1st Metal Tool Box and 5th Block Welding.

Justin McClements - 1st Red Tomatoes, 5th Corn Stalk and 6th Cucumbers.

Erin Smallwood - 1st Hanging Basket, 3rd Cantaloupe, 4th Potted Foliage, and 4th Potted Plant.

Joe Thomas - 2nd Block Welding.

Trey Thompson - 5th Cantaloupe and 5th Potatoes.

Ryan Wheatley - 1st Corn Silage, 1st Gallon of Wheat, 2nd Gallon of Corn, 2nd Grain Silage, 2nd Best Five Ears of Corn, 3rd Gallon of Barley, 3rd Best Ear of Corn, 5th Gallon of Soybeans and 6th Corn Stalk.

Meghan Yerkes - 3rd Potatoes.

The Smyrna FFA Chapter was founded in 1976 and makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

The chapter is under the direction of FFA advisors Keith Shane, Jay Davis, Sarah Bell and Kellie Michaud. Shane was recognized at the awards ceremony for 25 years of service and Davis was honored for 20 years of service, while former Smyrna High agriscience teacher and FFA advisor Russ Stinson received the Lifetime Achievement Award.