By Team iCEV on October 16, 2019 at 3:31 PM
Each year, CEV Multimedia awards the Jerry Franklin “Pursuit of Excellence” Scholarship to outstanding New Mexico FFA members to honor the memory of Jerry Franklin, long-time New Mexico agricultural science instructor and former CEV employee. Scholarship recipients are selected by Gordon W. Davis, founder and chairman of CEV, and Eddie Puckett, retired agricultural science instructor and current CEV curriculum consultant. To be eligible for the scholarship, applicants must be a senior at a New Mexico high school, be an active FFA member and show lambs or goats. This year, CEV is honored to present the Jerry Franklin “Pursuit of Excellence” Scholarship to Mackenzie Lightfoot and JC Miller.
Mackenzie Lightfoot is a senior at Logan High School. As the daughter of agricultural science instructors, Lightfoot always knew she would wear the blue and gold FFA jacket, and she officially became an FFA member when she was 13. Since that time, Lightfoot has been an active FFA member. “The FFA has done more than just help me, I have made new friends, traveled across the country and learned more about agriculture than I thought was possible,” said Lightfoot. She has participated in several Career Development Events (CDEs) and public speaking contests and was the president of the chapter’s Parliamentary Procedure team, where she earned the distinction of National Accredited Parliamentarian. Lightfoot has competed in the Agriscience Fair throughout her high school career and was a national finalist in 2016 and 2017. In 2018, she was recognized with other FFA chapter presidents across New Mexico with the Blue and Gold Presidents Award. Lightfoot is also a New Mexico State FFA Degree recipient and a State Proficiency Award finalist.
While she is passionate about FFA, Lightfoot has a special love for livestock shows. She began showing with 4-H when she was in elementary school and began to show under FFA when she joined her local chapter. During her stockshow career, Lightfoot has shown pigs, lambs and steers. Lightfoot contributes much of her personal and professional growth to her time in the show barn and ring. Not only has she gained many life lessons and experiences from stockshows, it has also brought her family closer together. “Livestock showing is a lifestyle my family and I have built together,” she said. Outside of FFA and stockshows, Lightfoot has been a member of her high school’s National Honor Society and student council and played volleyball and basketball for the Lady Longhorns.
Growing up on a ranch in eastern New Mexico, JC Miller is a natural competitor. As a senior at Des Moines High School, Miller is a member of his school’s cross country, track and basketball teams. While he enjoys physical competition, Miller’s true passion is the competition and camaraderie he has gained from his time in FFA. Along with earning chapter and district officer positions, Miller has been competitive in Leadership Development Events (LDEs) and CDEs. He is a talented public speaker and placed third in the state in the extemporaneous speaking contest.
Miller has been judging livestock from a young age and has been a member of state winning teams in both FFA and 4-H. “The most memorable experience I ever had in the FFA is livestock judging. It was single-handedly the most invigorating and stimulating contest I have ever done. I am very competitive in sports, and without a second thought, judging livestock is the most perplexing form of competition I have ever experienced, said Miller.” In 2018, he was the high point individual at the 2018 New Mexico state livestock judging contest where his team won first place. At the 2018 National FFA livestock judging contest, Miller placed in the top third of all competitors, earning him the gold distinction. Along with his active and successful FFA career, Miller has also been competitive in the show barn. Since a young age, Miller has shown market goats and began to show steers in more recent years. This year, he had the Reserve Grand Champion goat at the Union County Fair.
Miller attributes his time in FFA to his personal growth and development.“My proficiencies as an FFA member were unique in their own way, but I wouldn’t trade my experiences for the world. It has molded me into the person I am today, and I firmly believe those who have joined FFA were privileged enough to be changed forever, and whether it had a big impact or a small one, it has affected their lives for the better, as it did mine.”
CEV is proud to recognize outstanding youth to honor the memory of Jerry Franklin. Throughout his lifetime, Franklin held many titles including agricultural science instructor, FFA advisor, basketball coach, farmer and CEV representative. A respected figure in the New Mexico agricultural industry, Franklin was driven by his passion to see students excel, and he was known as a great mentor to students across the state.