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  • Agent takes a step up to get back to roots

    052721 extensionCOURTESY PHOTO Stacye Tullos (second from right), the new Texas A&M Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent for Trinity County, stands with (from left) Trinity County Judge Doug Page, Cathey, Kayla Kembro, Clarissa Ashworth, and Cole Sullivan, 4-H members who were honored with Gold Star awards from the Texas AgriLife Extension Service. Tullos recently was promoted to the agent, having served initially as an agent for Healthy Texas.

    By Tony Farkas

    GROVETON — Combined passions for agriculture and teaching put Stacye Tullos back to the place where she always wanted to be.

    The former Health Agent for the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service, which dealt with educational programming in the school about chronic disease and nutrition, among other things, is now agent for Agriculture and Natural Resources.

    “I always knew I wanted to be in something ag-based because of how I grew up,” Tullos said. “That made me who I am, being in FFA in high school. I was one of those kids who didn’t have a clue of what I wanted to do until I got into high school and started in ag.”

    When it came to learning about all things agriculture, Tullos said she fell to that like a duck to water; instead of athletics or other extracurricular activities, that was her passion — her sport.

    “4-H program is part of what I deal with, and that’s where my heart is at,” she said. “I was an ag teacher for three years (prior to joining the Extension Service). I come from a long background in agriculture. My grandpa was the largest producer of rice in the state of Texas in the 70s and 80s, and he also ran cattle, grew corn and hay, and things like that.”

    Tullos said that children are her passion, especially teaching them, and with agriculture, the possibilities for kids to find something that will interest them are endless.

    “People think that ag only has to do with cattle or pigs or lambs or goats, or maybe just farming, and it’s a misconception,” she said. “I’ve seen kids so shy that when they got an opportunity to be a part of FFA or 4-H, they find themselves. There are speaking events, or sewing, or robotics, or mechanical engineering. It’s cooking and learning about food. It gives them a sense of responsibility and grow character. You’ll find some of the most exceptional kids come from ag. It’s not just county fair stuff.”

    Agriculture and its related disciplines teaches responsibility, and a work ethic, and how to create, and it teaches children how to sell themselves, not just sell a commodity, Tullos said.

    “Kids need to know how to market themselves these days, and they need to learn to earn their way,” she said.

    So in her new role, Tullos helps people with questions about starting gardens, or identifying plants, or check a pond, or eve finding out why cattle aren’t producing well or losing weight.

    “It’s everything you can possibly imagine under the umbrella of agriculture,” she said. “We have a wealth of people with knowledge that help us with that, so if we don’t know, we have the resources of A&M.”

    Tullos is replacing Armon Hewitt, who had been agent for Trinity County for about 15 years. She graduated from Tarleton State University in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in agriculture services and development, and followed that with an internship in ag education with the Extension Service in Grimes County.

    After spending a few years working in human resources, Tullos made the change to teaching, and has been there since.

    “At the end of the day, our youth are our future, and if I can say I had a small part in helping them to blossom into a mature adult with a work ethic and skills to use throughout life, that’s where I live,” she said. “We have to invest in our kids, and they have to know there is someone behind them.”

  • Coldspring FFA Member Awarded National American FFA Degree

    Rylee American PictureColdspring-Oakhurst alumnus and Southwestern University sophomore Rylee Rudloff earned her FFA American Degree last week.

    INDIANAPOLIS – Each year, the National FFA Organization honors FFA members who show the utmost dedication to the organization through their desire to develop their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.

    The American FFA Degree is bestowed upon a select group of students in recognition of their years of academic and professional excellence. This year 4,136 American Degrees were awarded. Rylee Rudloff of Coldspring, who is a member of the Coldspring FFA chapter, was awarded the American FFA Degree at the 93rd National FFA Convention & Expo Oct. 27-29, which was held virtually.

    Rudloff was a Coldspring FFA member for four years during high school. She served as an officer of Coldspring FFA for two years, as the Vice President for 2017-2018 and President for 2018-2019. 

    Rudloff showed Market Goats and Breeding Heifers at the San Jacinto County Fair. She also showed registered Brahman heifers at Fort Worth Livestock Show, San Antonio Livestock Show, Houston Livestock Show, and the Star of Texas Livestock Show in Austin. 

    Rudloff competed in Livestock Judging for 4 years and Public Relations for three years and Greenhand Quiz one year. She received her Lone Star FFA Degree from Texas FFA in 2018. 

    Rudloff has continued her involvement in Agriculture after high school through her registered Brahman Heifers. She is currently attending Southwestern University in Georgetown, where she is studying to become a physical therapist and playing outfield for the softball team.

    Sponsored by Case IH, Elanco Animal Health and Syngenta, the award recognizes demonstrated ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs. To be eligible, FFA members must have earned and productively invested $10,000 through a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) program in which they own their own business or hold a professional position as an employee.

    Recipients must also complete 50 hours community service and demonstrate outstanding leadership abilities and civic involvement through completion of a long list of FFA and community activities. Less than one percent of FFA members achieve the American FFA Degree.

    Each recipient of the American FFA Degree receives a gold American FFA Degree key and certificate after being recognized at the national convention.

    About National FFA Organization
    The National FFA Organization is a school-based national youth leadership development organization of more than 760,000 student members as part of 8,700 local FFA chapters in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. 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 through agricultural education. For more, visit the National FFA Organization online at FFA.org and on Facebook and Twitter.


    The National FFA Foundation builds partnerships with industry, education, government, other foundations and individuals to secure financial resources that recognize FFA member achievements, develop student leaders and support the future of agricultural education. A separately registered nonprofit organization, the foundation is governed by a board of trustees that includes the national FFA president, educators, business leaders and individual donors. For more, visit FFA.org/Give.

     

  • FFA hands out honors

    006CASSIE GREGORY | COURTESY PHOTO The 2020-21 Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter Banquet was held on Thursday, May 13.

    Special to the News-Times

    COLDSPRING — The Coldspring-Oakhurst High School FFA Chapter celebrated a year filled with firsts, lasts, and hope for the future.

    At the FFA banquet on Thursday, 2020-21 Coldspring FFA President Brelynn Ellisor opened the emotional evening.

    "We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for making this a successful year," Ellisor said. "The hard work and dedication of each member has played a role in making all of these accomplishments possible."

    The invocation was led by FFA member Cinco Bailes, followed by a meal prepared and served by Mary Gray Catering with assistance from the FFA Booster Club.

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    American FFA Degree
    Certificates of Merit
    Chapter Degrees
    Fundraiser Award
    Greenhand Degrees
    Honorary Member Degree
    Junior FFA members
    New Officers
    Outstanding Member
    Star Chapter Award
    Star Greenhand
    Star Lone Star Award
    State Degrees
    Top Hand Awards
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    The 2020-21 FFA officers — Ellisor, Vice President Camilla Fussell, Secretary Kimberly Blackmann, Treasurer Kylie Curri, and Reporter Kaylen McAdams, with Advisor Ashlie Taylor — presented the year's awards and scholarship winners.

    The evening wound down with a touching end-of-year slideshow and the ceremony for retiring seniors, who hung up their FFA jackets as a symbol of the end of their high school FFA years.

    Before closing the meeting, the names of the 2021-2022 Coldspring FFA Officers were announced: President Kimberly Blackmann, Vice President Brelynn Ellisor, Secretary Cinco Bailes, Treasurer Hayden Richardson, Sentinel Mayci Whitten, Reporter Camilla Fussell and Student Advisor Kaylen McAdams.

  • FFA presents for Onalaska’s board

    FFAPHOTO BY EMILY KUBISCH-SABRSULA Onalaska’s FFA team gave their agricultural issues presentation over wild horse management to the board before they take it to contests.

    By Emily Kubisch-Sabrsula


    ONALASKA — Onalaska’s board met earlier this month to go over their formal agenda, as well as receive a presentation from the ag issues team as they prepare to complete in upcoming contests.

    Agricultural issues team
    Onalaksa’s FFA team unveiled their agricultural issues presentation over wild horse management. Two students on each side of the argument presented on the pros and cons of the regulation of these animals.
    The presentation included the history of how the horses were introduced to the United States, how Native Americans used them, their contemporary existence in the western U.S., and laws introduced to protect them. Pros included seed distribution and historical significance, while cons included hard packing of soil and over-population.

    Elementary report
    Elementary principal David Murphy informed the board that elementary UIL started meeting last week in the afternoons, but with after-school tutorials also starting soon, they are working to find ways to meet with both groups on campus in a safe manor.

    Sixth grade currently holds the highest attendance with 95%, earning them a pizza party later this month. On Nov. 3, the district will hold its first Title I meeting virtually.

    The presentation will go over what Title I is, requirements the school needs to meet, and what parents need to know. Questions and comments can be added to a chat box during the meeting to be addressed.

    Junior and high school report
    Robyn Thornton gave the junior and senior high school report.

    Administration will start teacher observations soon with plans to be finished before Thanksgiving. With the first nine-weeks over, Math and English Language Arts teachers will start determining which students need educational interventions, including after-school tutoring.

    The NHS and NJHS classes of last spring were inducted earlier this month, unable to do so last year due to Covid. Since the program started in 2006, 206 members have been initiated.

    Student council will hold a Trunks and Treats event on Oct. 31. This drive-thru event will take place at the junior and high school campus with a drive-in movie being shown afterwards.

    A copy of the school’s events calendar can be found at https://www.onalaskaisd.net/ under the “Events Calendar” tag at the bottom of the page.

    Superintendent Report
    Superintendent Anthony Roberts gave the enrollment report, stating the district had gained 37 more students since last year. Attendance has remained stable despite Covid, but the district is still held harmless for average daily attendance.

    A bid from Goodwin-Lasiter-Strong out of Lufkin to repair roofs on the junior and senior high campus, ag and transportation barns, weight room, softball pavilion and a modified roof for the administration building for just under $300,000 was approved.

    Sam Houston Electric Co-Op will lease a radio tower behind the high school to the district to improve communications around the district with the help of a safety and security grant. A tower in Livingston is currently used, but the more local tower will cost around $140 a month, less than half of what they currently pay.

    District to add cyber security clause
    With Senate Bill 820 passed, the district is required to adopt a cybersecurity framework and designate a coordinator to report all incidences should a breach occur. Technical support has already done so and has begun to establish procedures.

    The board voted to amend the emergency operations plan.

    For a calendar of future Onalaska ISD board meetings, visit https://www.onalaskaisd.net/, click on the “Superintendent’s Office” tab at the top, scroll to the bottom and click “School Board Agendas.”

  • Group raises funds for scholarships

    051321 fundraiser 1TONY FARKAS| TCNS Heather Stenson serves up a heaping tray of crawfish to a customer at the fourth annual crawfish boil fundraiser for the Trinity Community Fair Association, held Friday at the Trinity Community Center.

    By Tony Farkas

    TRINITY — Hot crawdads, smooth drinks and great tunes help put kids through school.

    The Fourth Annual Trinity Community Fair Association Crawfish Boil Scholarship Fundraiser, held Friday at the Trinity Community Center, netted $10,600 for scholarships.

    Even with the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fundraiser ended up being the largest event to date, with the TCFA selling 900 tickets, or 90 tables, and feeding about 1,200 people, according to organizer Tally Jo Stout.

    Stout said that every kid that shows at the Community Fair and generates $600 in the sale — be it through livestock or construction trades — gets a scholarship. That amounts to about 35 a year ranging from $250 to $750.

    “The TCFA is investing in you, whether you go to college or go to trade school,” she said. “We do not care what — college, trade, even gaining a certification — but it has to be school-related. Typically, we generate $10,000 from this event, and we have an endowed scholarship donor who will match that amount.”

    051321 fundraiser 2TONY FARKAS | TCNS Taylor Albright begins to dig into her tasty treat.

    Stout said the scholarships go to the child no matter the age; however, if the child is not of graduation age, the money is held in an account with Edward Jones until the child graduates. If students join the military, scholarship funds are held until they separate from service.

    The scholarships are awarded at the awards banquet held each year.

    “Last year, both my children, Valerie and Jace, received scholarships of $1,400 apiece,” Stout said. “We’ve been able to give 15 so far, and the rest are sitting in escrow.”

    As well as food, Double Shot of Livingston provided music for the night, and area distributors donated beverages of both the adult and child variety. The local FFA and volunteers set up tables; a good time was had by all.

  • Students gather food

    041521 food drive 1 copyCOURTESY PHOTO Shepherd ISD FFA members participated in a food drive recently. Pictured are Madison Smith, president; Aulstin Baloy, treasurer; and Ashley Adams, secretary.

    Special to the News-Times

    SHEPHERD — The Shepherd FFA participated in the Seventh Annual Battle of the FFA's Canned Food Drive recently.

    In all, Shepherd FFA collected 1,360 pounds of donated goods, with Coldspring FFA collecting a total of 616 pounds.

    With the generous donations from San Jacinto County Farm Bureau, Bank of San Jacinto County, and McClain's Food Market, the overall total surpassed last year's donation with 3,234 pounds.

    All proceeds will be divided equally and donated to the Shepherd and Coldspring Senior Citizens Centers.