Richard's Drug is hosting the 75th annual Pottawatomie County Future Farmers of America Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24 at Crossing Hearts Ranch in Tecumseh.

According to Jamie Barrick from Richard's Drug, the pharmacy has been in businesses for 80 years and for 75 of those years it has hosted the event.

"Beginning in 1944, Otto Krausse, Shawnee FFA Advisor, talked with Gordon Richards Sr. about the need to recognize the work of the FFA students in Pottawatomie County," Barrick said. "Therefore, the drug store started a banquet to recognize these individuals."

Barrick explained advisors from all FFA chapters in the county choose a recipient to receive an Outstanding FFA student award and a $100 scholarship for their future.

The students accepting the awards this year, Barrick said, include Terah Garcia from Asher, Colton Ingmire from Bethel, Paden Thomas from Dale, Jesse Moore from Macomb, Maycee Spain from McLoud, Konnor McKey from North Rock Creek, Dassie May from Shawnee, Jacob Nunley from Tecumseh and Shane Rodman from Wanette.

"Although I am uncertain what makes a 'perfect candidate,' I would say the young lady's or gentleman's involvement in the program, her or his leadership abilities and her or his work ethic (are important factors)" Barrick said.

For as long as the banquet has existed, Barrick explained the event has received positive feedback from Shawnee and surrounding communities because the award is a prestigious one and recognizes how FFA shapes young people.

"My personal belief is this banquet benefits the community in that it brings attention to a program that consistently produces students with the above mentioned qualifications and overall good citizens," Barrick said.

Barrick explained the FFA banquet has always been held at Crossing Hearts Ranch which is owned by avid supporters and participants in FFA events Suzanne and Randy Gilbert.

Attendees of the banquet will be in their FFA official dress and the event is the first of many next week for these students Barrick said

"The banquet is held on Monday of National FFA week. What a great way for these recipients to start off this week," Barrick said. "It is our hope to continue this tradition and to promote this program."

Barrick explained there are many past recipients of the Outstanding Student FFA award who as adults still support the program.

"Randy Gilbert is a previous winner as well as the following advisors: Rick Thompson in Asher, Kolton Shipley in Bethel(and) Dodge Nichols in Tecumseh," Barrick said.