CSCC's Peeler Takes Home First Place at FFA Conventions

CSCC's Peeler Takes Home First Place at FFA Conventions

Holly Vincent
Tuesday, May 8, 2018 12:00 AM
Academics, Students, Community

ATHENS, Tenn. – Cleveland State student Mariah Peeler recently won first place in both the state and the regional FFA Conventions in the Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance Placement category.

Peeler, an Agriculture Engineering major at Cleveland State’s Athens Center, has been involved in FFA since high school having served as president of Walker Valley High School’s FFA Club both her junior and senior years.  

“I’m so glad that Cleveland State has an Ag program now,” stated Peeler. “I think it has recruited a lot of people to CSCC. With Tennessee Promise, I definitely wanted to come to a community college, and I really wanted to major in an Ag-related field, so this was perfect for me.”

Peeler said she was “skeptical” of Cleveland State at first. She thought with it being a community college that she was not going to get the full college experience, but said the small classes and the close connection with her Ag Instructor, Mitch Ingram, has made for a smooth transition.

“Mr. Ingram is great, and I’m so glad that I’m able to have him as my instructor,” stated Peeler. He makes ag more interesting than it should be! He really makes it fun!”

Peeler comes by her love for agricultural mechanics honestly as both her father and grandfather are diesel mechanics. This is what sparked her interest in this field. When Peeler was five, a new sporting event came to her local fair called lawnmower racing. She was immediately hooked on horsepower and loud engines after that.

“My dad is the one who got me into racing lawn mowers,” stated Peeler. “I started off going 15 miles per hour (needing extensions to reach the pedals), but now I’m up to 110 miles per hour…but I didn't’t just want to race them, I wanted to work on them!”

Peeler has gone on to race competitively with the United States Lawnmower Racing Association—winning three championships along the way. Throughout this time and her time in FFA, she was able to gain enough mechanical knowledge and skills that she was offered a job at Advanced Auto Parts. According to Peeler, it wasn't’t always easy convincing some of the older male customers that they should listen to a young female, but she has already received a promotion and proven herself having recently become the third highest salesperson at Advance.

“Cleveland State is excited about offering several degree and certificate options in our Agriculture Program at the Athens Center,” stated Stefanie West, Director of the CSCC Athens Center. “Mariah Peeler is a top student in our Ag program, and we are extremely proud of her.  She has excelled as can be seen with her many achievements and accolades.  Mariah and other student are loving the opportunity to continue their FFA experience from high school at CSCC.”

 Peeler said she really enjoys being involved in CSCC’s FFA Club and is looking forward to Cleveland State’s Ag Day and Quiz Bowl coming up at the Athens Center. This day is designed for high school Agriculture students to participate in a Quiz Bowl, Agriculture Trade Show and Job Fair, and an individual exam. Participants will also be able to find out more information about CSCC’s Agriculture programs, as well as the ag industry in McMinn County.

“I became a part of FFA, and now, it is a part of me. It gave me a purpose. I cannot even begin to comprehend a world without it and the opportunities and life lessons it has provided me seem endless.”

After graduation from CSCC, Peeler plans to transfer to Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville to complete her bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Engineering.

For more information about Cleveland State’s Agriculture program, visit the website at www.clevelandstateccedu or email Mitch Ingram at ringram01@clevelandstateccedu. For more information about CSCC’s Athens Center, call (423) 745-8486.

Photo Cutline: Mariah Peeler of Riceville took home first place in the Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance Placement category at state and regional FFA conventions.




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