This year’s yearly Spring Branch ISD FFA Show and Sale had a pre-event ceremony that spotlighted a two-year community project led by district FFA graduate Ben Johnson.
Johnson, now a Texas A&M sophomore majoring in agricultural leadership and development, hosted a celebration marking the completion of an open-air, covered learning pavilion at the district Ag Center, located at 1905 Brittmoore.
Several dozen special guests gathered Feb. 11 at the 30-foot by 60-foot pavilion built next to the FFA show center and chapter garden for the dedication.
Johnson’s project, which included raising funds and construction, was part of the ambitious project commitment the young FFA student made after being selected in high school as a Texas FFA Ford Scholars Program member. That program was supported by the Texas Ford Dealers Association and the Ford Motor Co.
“From my own perspective, the leadership training we received through the Ford Leadership Scholars program was invaluable,” Johnson said. “The decisions I make now are based on the core values of vision, action, relationships, awareness, character and continuous improvement that I learned through this program.”
Johnson was one of 10 Texas students who earned Ford program membership as a district FFA member.
Representatives attending the pavilion dedication included Aaron Alejandro, who is Texas FFA Foundation executive director; Mitchell Dale and Larry Gach with the Ford dealers association and Ford Motor Co., respectively; and Joel Cowley, president of the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo and Johnson’s FFA mentor.
SBISD representatives included Jane Primrose, assistant principal at The Guthrie Center and Johnson’s former ag instructor, and Board of Trustees members J. Carter Breed and Pam Goodson. Former U.S. Congressman Bill Sarpalius also attended.
Texas FFA’s Aaron Alejandro said he had known Johnson since childhood and was proud of the young adult’s accomplishments.
“The investment you have made is not here in this building, but in leadership. You dreamed a big dream, and made it come true,” he said.
Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo President Joel Cowley noted that Johnson had a “richness” in thinking about his project that is also present in the Ford Leadership Scholars program. As a mentor, he helped Johnson choose the pavilion over other project options.
“I’m responsible for this two-year odyssey,” Cowley quipped. “Ben balanced this work project with his academics at A&M . . . and I believe that young people will use this facility for decades to come.”
As a part of the pavilion dedication, several trees were also planted nearby. Jane Primrose noted that ag students are project oriented, combining real knowledge and classroom learning with hands-on projects, which can result in many lessons.
“The things Ben has really done here are about relationships. This program today would not be possible without all the relationships involved,” she said.
Several other Ford Leadership Scholars Program award winners and Texas A&M students joined Johnson at the pavilion opening. They included Brittney Borserine of Allen, Caitlin Lakey of Kingwood, and John Derry of Bandera.
Spring Branch ISD FFA Show and Sale Results: