After hearing Chapter President Carson Littleton’s headline for an essay he was writing, Thorsby FFA members knew they had the perfect theme for the 2017 National FFA Chapter Tee Contest. Other chapters across the U.S. agreed as the Alabama FFA Chapter’s T-shirt design “Unleash Your Passion” was recently voted the nation’s best.
“When we heard this heading, we thought it was a perfect concept. We were created to be passionate beings and without passion we are nothing,” said Brian Lucas, Thorsby FFA Advisor. “All of us have a strong passion for FFA.”
In addition to coming up with a theme, the members also strived to establish a foundation for the T-shirt design. That foundation was a tear/rip through the American flag with the FFA Emblem emerging from it.
“Our idea is that FFA is the heart of America’s future,” Lucas said.
After the team brought the T-shirt design to the entire chapter to analyze, they found that some members were holding back their potential.
“It was like their passion needed to be ‘unleashed,'” Lucas said. “Finally, we asked ourselves how future careers, in agriculture, could affect our nation’s potential.”
Overall the entire project took Thorsby FFA about two weeks to complete.
The next step was getting votes through social media. A relatively small school, Lucas said the team knew they had a good chance to win, but no idea it would be top in the nation.
“We believe that the T-shirt was so popular because it inspires our chapter and community to follow their dreams. This means that it could inspire the entire FFA, as well as the whole nation,” Lucas said. “We believe this inspiration is important for the future of agriculture. Our chapter hopes that we could spark a revolution in agriculture, because every wildfire begins with an ember.”
While this was the first year the Alabama Chapter entered the National Tee Contest, Lucas said the 105 Thorsby FFA members excel in anything they put their minds to. The Chapter has won three State Meat Evaluation Championships and Proficiency Awards in Vegetable Production, Outdoor Recreation, and Diversified Horticulture, as well as two Poultry Evaluation Championships and two first place State Agriscience Fair projects. In addition, Thorsby has obtained State Championships in: Land Evaluation, Dairy Evaluation, Horse Evaluation, Environmental Science, and 4-H Skill-a-thon … a feat they have accomplished all in the past five years.
The Thorsby FFA Chapter is also active in the community through events such as the Annual Farm Day and Banquet, Veteran’s Home Visitation, Alabama Beef Cattle Improvement Association (BCIA) Meeting, Peach Auction, and Farm/Home/Wildlife Expo at the Auburn Experiment and Research Station.
Thorsby FFA recommends other chapters try creating a T-shirt that is unique to their chapter and then offering it to members to wear with pride. Once the shirt design meets the chapter’s needs, send it to nationals.
Finally Thorsby FFA hopes fellow FFA members, alumni, and others will consider purchasing their winning tee because the chapter will receive 50 percent of the first year’s profit.
“With your purchase, you are not only supporting a T-shirt design, but you are supporting and investing in the future. Less than 1 percent of our population feeds us. We are the future, leading the future’s future,” Lucas said. “Your investment will assure your children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren will have food to eat, clothes to wear, shelter to live in, safe water to drink, etc. The T-shirts looks good, feels good, and they might just inspire someone to follow their dreams.”