The classic blue jackets were out in full force Monday.
Members of the first FFA chapter at Wayne High School took the opportunity to show their stuff during a Local Leadership Night event held at the school. An open house was held in the newly-renovated ag classroom before a program and meeting were presented in the lecture hall with most of the 28-member FFA chapter present for the event.
FFA advisor and Wayne High ag instructor Toni Rasmussen said Monday’s event was a chance for the community to see what is going on with the new chapter, which has hit the ground running with recent judging competitions and preparations for an upcoming Leadership Development Event (LDE) later this month in North Bend.
“With the newly renovated areas, we wanted to make sure the community had a chance to see where their students are, and we had this program in preparation for the Leadership Development Event in North Bend, which is a speaking competition where students talk about ag and advocate for the industry.”
During Monday’s leadership program, Hana Nelsen and Megan Keiser both gave speeches that they will present at next week’s LDE event, and the eight officers who lead the Wayne FFA chapter went through an exercise in parliamentary procedure as preparation for their competition that will also be held at the event Nov. 21 in North Bend.
For the chapter’s first president, Mariah Frevert, last year’s news of the school’s plans to start an FFA chapter was music to her ears.
“I was so excited when I heard we were getting an FFA chapter here,” she said. “I was almost crying because I see it as such a great opportunity for me.”
The junior wants to follow in her advisor’s footsteps and be an ag teacher, and she’s already getting an opportunity to gain some experience by helping teach classes of seventh graders in ag-related classes.
“It’s more of an opportunity than I would have had without FFA,” she said.
Frevert’s family has been farming in the area for multiple generations, growing corn and soybeans and raising cattle, pigs and horses. Frevert shows pigs and horses in 4-H in Wayne County, and getting involved in FFA was a great opportunity for her to learn more about the ag industry.
“I wanted to be in FFA because I saw it as another opportunity for me to expand my knowledge in agriculture,” she said. “It correlates with leadership and I want to become more of a leader because I want to be an ag teacher like Miss Rasmussen.”
The Wayne FFA chapter has been busy in its maiden voyage, competing in soil and dairy evaluation competitions and attending an EDGE (Engaging Districts in Growth and Excellence) event in Blair, where they introduced themselves to other long-standing FFA chapters in the state and learned how to be more active within their own chapter.
The local chapter has a unique mix of students whose families come from agriculture-related backgrounds and those who are not near as active on a day-to-day basis in agriculture.
“It’s very diverse,” Frevert said of the 28-member group. “Some are farming students and some are students who don’t come from a farming background, but it’s a great opportunity for those students who may not have had those opportunities to work with livestock and soil and learn more about leadership. It’s more than just the farming part of it, and a lot of students who may have thought that at first are seeing it’s something they can be a part of and there are a lot of opportunities for them to participate.”
Rasmussen said the community support for the new FFA chapter has been tremendous.
“It’s been fantastic,” she said. “The students have really enjoyed it and we’ve received a lot of community support and support from businesses here in town and I really appreciate the support the program has received.”
Rasmussen said the community is invited to a Future of Ag banquet that will be held Saturday at 5:30 p.m. at the Wayne City Auditorium. Freewill donations will be accepted for the event. The banquet is sponsored by Wayne County Farm Bureau.