By Colin Foster
CASSTOWN — Miami East junior Miranda Maggart is using FFA to get a head start on her future.
Maggart, a Casstown resident who joined the Miami East-MVCTC FFA Chapter only a year ago, was awarded $1,000 grant by the National FFA Foundation recently. The supervised agricultural experience (SAE) — a requirement that all FFA members must complete — is designed to help FFA members create and enhance students experience.
“I was really excited about getting it,” said Maggart, who plans on studying sonography in college and one day hopes to go into radiology. “It opened a lot of doors for me. Not only can I expand my SAE, it will allow me to get to the next step and get my degree, and it may be possible to earn a scholarship for college.”
The SAE requires FFA members to create and operate an agricultural-related business, work at an agriculture-related business or conduct an agricultural research experience. Upon completion of the grant fiscal year, grant recipients must submit a comprehensive report regarding their career development experience.
There were 671 applicants nationwide, with only 71 receiving grants. Students could apply in different categories, and Maggart applied in plant systems. She said she plans on using her grant monies to expand her specialty crop SAE. She raises pink pumpkins, the Porcelain Doll, and donates half of all proceeds to breast cancer research.
“She challenged everybody in FFA and community members to raise pumpkins, then after growing season, gathered the pumpkins and sold them at the Troy Farmers Market and to people in the community,” said Marie Carity, adviser for the Miami East-MVCTC FFA.
The money she received from the grant will also be used to purchase her own gardening equipment, that way she will no longer have to borrow it from her family. Maggart also raises chrysanthemums that she markets at the Troy Farmers market in the fall. She offers a variety of colors to customers and plans to use the grant money to expand her plants by 50-percent. Her goal is to be able to offer more selection to her customers.
Maggart, who is a varsity football cheerleader and JV basketball cheerleader, wouldn’t have even gotten involved with FFA had it not been for her best friend.
“I got involved with it when I was a sophomore because my best friend was apart of it,” she explained. “She told me what they did for the community and I liked the idea.”
And her future looks a little brighter because of that decision.
The National FFA Organization provides personal growth, leadership and career success training through agricultural education to 579, 678 members in grades 7-12. There are 7,570 local chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.