Indianapolis — Wendell Stevens of Payson was recently selected to receive the Honorary American FFA Degree Teacher Award.
This award is given to those who advance agriculture education and FFA through outstanding personal commitment. He was one of 28 teachers in Arizona to receive the award.
The national FFA organization works to enhance the lives of youth through agriculture education. Without the efforts of highly dedicated individuals, thousands of young people would not be able to achieve success that, in turn, contributes directly to the overall well-being of the nation.
The Honorary American FFA Degree is an opportunity to recognize those who have gone beyond the valuable daily contributions to make an extraordinary long-term difference in the lives of students, inspiring confidence in a new generations of agriculturists.
Recipients in the the “teacher” category are selected on the basis of their contributions in the following seven areas: classroom/laboratory instruction, experiential learning of students, National FFA organization, building partnerships, agriculture education teachers. In addition, teachers must have taught for a minimum of 10 years and their agriculture education program must have 85 percent membership in the past year. Members of the National FFA Board of Directors approved the nomination.
Stevens has taught agriculture education in the Payson Unified School District for the past 29 years. During this time, Stevens has served in various leadership positions for the Arizona Agriculture Association including president.
He has been recognized as the Northern District Teacher of the Year twice and the Black Canyon District Teacher of the Year three times. Stevens has been recognized as a past teacher of the year for Natural Resource Conservation Districts, a past state Leadership Award winner, and recently was selected as Arizona Teacher of the Year by AATA.
Stevens has served as Northern Gila County Fair chairman for several years and has been associated with the fair for 29 years. He also helps coordinate local high school rodeo events, and he and Payson FFA have participated in a number of community service projects.
The National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America, is a national youth organizations of 507,763 student members — all preparing for leadership and careers in science, business and technology of agriculture — as part of 7,439 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
The National FFA Organization changed to its present name in 1988, in recognition of the growth and diversity of agriculture and agriculture education.
Stevens traveled to Indianapolis to receive the honor during an onstage presentation at the 82nd National FFA Convention, held Oct. 21-24.
All recipients will receive a certificate and medal, and their names will be permanently recorded. The FFA mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success.