Two Luther High School sophomores are two-time state champions through their FFA activities. Their hard work, discipline, family support, mentoring from many especially sponsor Holly Drake and talent also factored in to their wins. Johnna Stottlemyre and Jesse Cole are just two of the LHS FFA members who will be presented some serious hardware this Saturday at the annual banquet at 5pm.
Stottlemyre is a back-to-back Tulsa State Fair Grand Champion for 2014 and 2015. The two-time honor is a rarity (did we mention she is only a sophomore?). Johnna described her rigid schedule to care for her animals saying she had a lot of help with the morning feed from her dad, but after school it was up to her for feeding, watering, walking and time on the treadmill for “Forest,” and the year before, for 2014 Grand Champion “Taco.” She said the daily grind makes show days worth it. There’s nothing like the exhilaration, nervousness and thrill of being in the show ring.
A straight-A student who also plays softball and basketball, Stottlemyre has her eyes set on pursuing law school.
Jesse Cole likely would rather be in the woods instead of up on stage to speak before the entire State FFA Convention. But he did it last month in Oklahoma City. That’s what Champions do. Also, only a sophomore, Cole is the two-time state high scorer in skeet shooting.
Cole will keep honing his skills – a steady hand and a focused eye – with the aim of earning college scholarships that will push him toward his goals of pursuing marine biology or firefighting. Until then, he shoots skeet, trap and does archery. Also a basketball and baseball player for the Lions, Cole is also a top student.
Stottlemyre, Cole and many LPS students cycle through the new “Ag Building” just thirty steps (of success) north of the main high school building. The building, constructed through voter-approved bond money, opened just two days before school started last August. For sponsor and teacher Holly Drake, It’s been a breakneck year – unpacking, organizing, teaching and managing the breadth of the FFA programs. She loves it, but everyone is a little weary come May in the school business (especially THIS year). Teaching six classes a day in the building to eighth – twelfth grades, she also manages the FFA activities, welding and horticulture. For the most part, unscathed by budget cuts from the school board, the ag program pulls its weight from a healthy activity fund and funding from the Oklahoma Department of Careertech.
She’s grateful to a generous booster club, and patrons such as Alan Easley at the Luther Mill & Farm Supply who helped furnish the new building. Easley built the bookshelves that now house textbooks for Drake’s classes. As the year closes out, the FFA showed appreciation to the community by offering free flowers to
neighbors (after they were sure to clear their costs and show a little profit) to bloom where planted.
The time for celebration will be Saturday when more than 200 students, their families and biggest fans are expected for the annual banquet where awards will be given, community service acknowledged and seniors honored. It begins at 5 pm at the high school cafeteria