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FFA Students, Trips Discussed By School Board

By Staff | Mar 1, 2011

FFA students and their upcoming activities were a focus of the regular meeting of the Emmetsburg Community Schools Board of Education on Feb. 21. Several Emmetsburg High School FFA students and their advisor, Tara Fastert, were in attendance at the meeting.

Board members watched as the students performed their version of parliamentary procedure, or “conduct of meetings,” and the FFA Creed that they intended on presenting at Sub-District Contest on Feb. 22, at Sioux Central High School. District Contest will be held on Mar. 5, and State Contest will be held Apr. 14-15.

In other business related to the FFA program at Emmetsburg High School, the board considered two out-of-state trips.

The first trip will be to South Dakota State University on Friday, Mar. 18, to participate in Little International. The event is a combination of Career Development Contest for students to participate in, as well as events like crops judging, farm business management contest, and natural resources. Students will also tour the college. The trip is scheduled for a day when there is no school due to conferences.

The second trip will be to Washington, D.C., June 6-12, to attend the Washington Leadership Conference. Seven of the 2011-2012 FFA Chapter Officers plan on flying to the nation’s capital. The possibility exists that other FFA students may attend, as well. Tara Fastert accompanied a group of FFA students to Washington, D.C. two years ago.

Fastert said, “This is a great opportunity for these students to learn a lot about themselves and their abilities and how they can better serve our chapter when they return.”

It is estimated at that the trip will cost $1,100 per student. Participating FFA students are intending on raising money through a labor auction (the highest bidder will “buy” four hours of labor from the student) and a pie auction held during the annual FFA Parent/Member Banquet on Mar. 21. The group will also be asking for donations from local businesses. Students will be responsible for paying for whatever amount is not covered by the various fundraisers.

“I think it’s wonderful how far these kids are willing to go with the FFA,” said Board President Karla Anderson. “We’re an agricultural community and we still have young people who are really interested in it and want to continue a career into it. Every time they present something to us, they’re not asking us for money. They are figuring out a way to raise this money. That’s not something that you see with every activity.”

“There’s big businesses like DeKalb and Farm Bureau who have asked me if we have a big activity they could sponsor, so I feel we’ll be able to get a lot of sponsorship for this event,” said Fastert. “I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting the money raised.”

“What if students are not able to cover the remainder of what they owe to go on the trip?” asked Kim Campbell, board member. “Are there things in place so that they can still participate?”

“Yes, there are,” Fastert answered. “I always tell FFA students: Money is not something that should stop you. If it is, they need to come talk to me. If they need a little extra, I can help them out.”

Fastert shared that she would accompany the students on their trip. Once in Washington, D.C., the National FFA organization would then be responsible for keeping the students occupied.

“The students are busy from the time they get up in the morning until the time they go to bed. They keep them so busy that the only time I get to see them is at night before it’s ‘lights out’,” Fastert said. “There are enough chaperones with them that they keep them busy every minute of the day, whether it’s going to see the Mall or going to the Iwo Jima monument.”

Fastert added that community service opportunities exist during the trip.

“Who gets priority to go?” asked board member Tammy Naig.

“Seniors are not eligible to go because they will have graduated by June,” said Fastert. “So, we’ll start with juniors and then sophomores. Preference will be given to chapter officers first, and then we will open it up to anyone after that. We want to take as many people as we can.”

“Does participation depend on their grades?” asked Laure Egland, board member.

“Yes, it does. It also depends on FFA merit points,” Fastert answered.

Board member Don Hagen wondered how many kids are in FFA this year.

“Right now we have 51 active students in high school and three out-of-school alumni members. Alumni members are still eligible to show at State and at Clay County-and those kinds of shows-until they turn 21.”

“That’s a lot of kids,” said Naig. “That’s wonderful.”

With no further discussion, the board approved the FFA trips to South Dakota and Washington, D.C.