The Golden Key

Name: Beth Noel

Major: Agricultural Science, Teaching Pathway

Hometown: Hydesville, CA


Since freshman year of high school many students enrolled in agriculture courses aspire to obtain the American FFA Degree. It is the highest award bestowed upon FFA members. Less than 1% of students achieve the degree of a golden key they get to hang from their beloved blue corduroy jacket after graduating from high school. I was able to cross this off my bucket list along 25 other Cal Poly Students this past week. Of the 4,255-degree recipients, many traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana to the National FFA convention to personally receive their degree on stage in Lucas Oil Stadium.


In order to apply for the American FFA degree I invested thousands of hours and earned thousands of dollars with my SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience). For me, this was raising dairy heifer replacement projects, market lambs and small animals for the Humboldt County Fair and working at a dairy over the summer in high school. There are also members that have SAEs in anything from diaper absorptance research to working in floral shops. It is impressive to be at the convention and see members from different backgrounds united under the Blue Jacket.


At the convention over 67,000 members and guests gather in late October every year to award public speaking champions, attend a concert, go through the career expo and explore many other aspects of the convention. The environment of National FFA Convention is refreshing. Anywhere and everywhere I went I was greeted with smiles, southern accents and the FFA emblem. I exchanged a conversation with someone at the Steak n’ Shake waiting for our milkshakes who also came to Indy to get her American FFA Degree about how exciting it is to “graduate” from the FFA with the chain on our jackets. She also mentioned that a member from her chapter (high school) was able to meet President Donald Trump as a National Winner when he came to give the keynote address for the Final Session of convention.


I am especially excited to receive my degree as I work towards becoming a high school agriculture teacher, it is something I can show my Freshmen students and hope that they too can aspire to obtain the Golden Key of FFA.



Students from Cal Poly that received the degree:

Beth Noel

Cassidy Scatena

Hailey Atwood

Christian Gomez

Mayte Magallon

Gissel Neri Corcoles

Dalton Stuhr

Jacob Willhite

Courtney Creighton

Bradley Livingston

Kaitlyn McFarlan

Genevieve Regli

Kassidee Kemp

Ian Reese

Brittney Thompson

Jack Grizzle

Alyssa Sawyer

Halley Lauchland

Jared Alamo

Andrew Rezendes

Dulce Espinoza

Kayla Erath

Shelby Watts

Janeen Moore

Victoria Garcia

Katherine Field

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