Last week at the Clemson Extension Spotlight on Agriculture Dinner, Matthew Brownlee (Laurens District 55 High School) and John Michael Lapomarda (Clinton High School) were recognized as the Outstanding FFA Members of the Year. Melanie Birchmore (Laurens District 55 High School) and Annette Bodie (Clinton High School) presented the awards and highlighted some of the recipients' accomplishments. We were lucky enough to get a copy and will share some of this information here:
Kyle Penland and I are the Laurens FFA Advisors and would like to thank Clemson Extension and the Advisory Committee for allowing us to recognize our outstanding FFA member of the year at this wonderful event. I would like to start out by thanking all of our officers and their parents for the hard work and dedication that they have given this year. Laurens FFA Member of the Year for 2017 came into FFA as a thin 9th grader. I remember thinking I have seen this kid somewhere. As I racked my brain it came to me that he is the same kid I had seen for several years on SC Young Farmer and Agribusinessman Farm Tours. At that point I realized that this FFA Member had a passion for Agriculture since he was a small boy. From his first year in FFA he has been involved in everything he could work into his busy schedule. He works at Bull Hill Ranch, grows vegetables at home, starts chicks for local farms, raises layers to sale eggs, and still finds time to be the most active Laurens FFA member. This member is a star among a great officer group. He leads by example in every area of his life. My other officers often say he is my favorite but he would be the first to tell you that I will come down on him harder than the others because I have higher expectations for him than the others. I have often heard that where much is given much is expected in return. God has blessed Matthew Brownlee greatly and he is certainly giving back greatly. This year’s Laurens FFA Member of the year is Matthew Brownlee.
John Michael Lapomarda
Each year we get the pleasure of honoring one of our students who has showed dedication, determination, and a love for the Agriculture, FFA and 4H. The last two years there has been no doubt who exhibits these qualities. This young man works harder than most of us ever do and he does it without ever complaining. He has had his own landscaping business, works at the Clinton House Plantation, Honda Motorsports, is active in his church youth group, shows pigs with the 4H, all while maintaining good grades. For 2 years he has led the Clinton High School FFA in our point system. Outstanding student is the perfect way to describe John Michael Lapomarda.