Texas FFA News  
Chartering Outside of the Box with Victory Christian Academy FFA    
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 | Author: Ryan Hess, Texas FFA State Vice President

For many students across the state of Texas, the opportunity to become an FFA member is as simple as choosing the right class schedule for the following year. However, for one group of North Texas students, this process was completed through many hours of commitment, determination, and hard work.

Victory Christian Academy (VCA) is a private school located in Decatur, Texas, that strives to cultivate the growth of young leaders. Although VCA can be found in an agricultural community, knowledge of the industry was not common at the school until Brooke Stewart began her position in 2019. Stewart is the agricultural science teacher at VCA, where she kickstarted implementing an agricultural science program and chartering an FFA chapter. 

She is originally from Decatur, where she grew up showing Santa Gertrudis cattle and participating in the many opportunities FFA has to offer. A Tarleton State University graduate, Stewart landed her current position through frequent conversations about forming an agricultural science program while attending Victory Church. In 2019, she had finally built the confidence to take on this position as the sole teacher in the program.

As Stewart began her first year, she understood there would be copious amounts of groundwork spent generating buy-in with students. She mentioned that staying “organized, structured, and determined” was key to finding growth with the students and chapter. Additionally, a teacher can plan weeks of content, but at the end of the day, “what [makes] students want to join a new program is being empathetic, getting on their level and meeting them halfway.” 

By the end of their first year, membership grew to 83 students. After gaining buy-in from a group of students, other components of a chapter can be developed, such as electing a chapter officer team, drafting a constitution, and forming a Program of Activities (POA). 

Stewart shared two pieces of advice for chapters hoping to receive their charter. “Don’t be afraid to ask other chapters for assistance during your chartering stage, and make great friends with Gwenn [Cain, Membership Services Coordinator for Texas FFA].”

Since Victory Christian Academy received their official charter in July of 2021, they have continued to gain momentum. Victory FFA successfully brought home the sweepstakes banner in many events at the 2021 Red River District Leadership Development Event (LDE) Contest. The chapter also has students running for district and area office and applying to the Ford Leadership Scholar and Foundation Ambassador programs. 

“There is always a fluctuation with people, but because of the students’ dedication, acceptance of the program has skyrocketed,” said Stewart. 

Looking back on her time at Victory Christian Academy, Stewart confidently stated her greatest joy has been “the relationships with her students.” 

“It is not only about winning LDE sweepstakes or the banners. Rather, FFA is really about helping students find themselves and letting them know they have a purpose,” said Stewart. 

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