Banks County High School Junior Easton Payne recently placed second in the State EMC/FFA State Agricultural Education Career Development Event (CDE), a competition that stresses the importance of electrical safety while helping to sharpen their wiring skills.
Payne received $750 for his second place finish and a certificate honoring his achievements.
Earlier, Payne came in second place in the Area II competition in Jackson County, advancing him to the state level where he competed with other finalists.
The 42 EMCs in Georgia, including Jackson EMC and FFA chapters across the state, host and sponsor FFA career events such as the wiring contest to teach high school students about the safe, efficient use of electricity.
The hands-on wiring exercise is equally popular with students and teachers who point to the benefits of hands-on learning.
“Students in a hands-on program will remember the material better, feel a sense of accomplishment when the task is completed, and be able to transfer that experience easier to other learning situations,” says Chip Jakins, president & CEO of Jackson EMC.
“When more than one method of learning is offered, the information has a better chance of being stored in the student’s memory for retrieval. They’ll also stay on task more often because they are part of the learning process and not just spectators.”
According to Jakins, while winning the contest has obvious benefits, EMC representatives and students have come to appreciate an even greater benefit of the CDE: in some cases, student participation has served as the catalyst for pursuing college degree programs and career goals. In fact, a number of students have been inspired to pursue an education in the electric industry or agriculture. Some have graduated with engineering degrees, completed electrical courses at technical colleges and eventually landed jobs in their area of study.
In addition to the practical wiring exercise, participants are required to complete a problem-solving multiple-choice exam and give a presentation describing the necessary steps to complete a specific electrical wiring task.
Jackson EMC is consumer-owned cooperative providing electricity and related services to more than 215,000 members in Banks, Barrow, Clarke, Franklin, Gwinnett, Hall, Jackson, Lumpkin, Madison and Oglethorpe counties.
The FFA is a national organization of more than 500,000 members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. An integral part of the agricultural education program in public schools, FFA’s mission is to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.