Celebrating agricultural education; FFA week features opportunities for students

Noel Bailey, Reporter


     From February 22-25, students and staff celebrated FFA week. According to organizers, the week was used to teach about education and opportunities in the agriculture industry, as well as to develop leadership skills. FFA is a national organization that is also in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. There are 735, 038 national FFA members. 120 of them are at North Harford. 

      Erika Edwards, one of the FFA leaders and agriculture teacher at the Nest, says the organization wants to let people know that there is a misconception that they are just  known as the Future Farmers of America. FFA is also “open to all as the National FFA [and] the organization focuses on leadership in all fields,” says Edwards. 

           Edwards said the organization wants to “showcase that [the] FFA focuses on building their knowledge and skills for careers in agriculture and not just farming.” 

        The organization has several areas in which students can get involved including community service, fundraising, agriculture club, and social committees. Each one had a different part of FFA week that they had to plan and work with. Among the people involved with planning this event are FFA president Bev Bigelow,  as well as committee chairs and seniors Teagan Flaherty,  Zach Wyatt, Malinah Jerscheid, as well as sophomores James Ortt, and Mia Coleman, who is leading the humane society donation drive.

    To generate enthusiasm about the week, the officers of FFA decorated each other’s lockers with a magnet emblem. The members also wore spirit week clothes featuring themes like America, careers in agriculture, FFA pride, and FFA jackets. These days helped “promote [the program] in a positive way,” says Edwards. 

     They also have recruited middle schoolers to join them, by making goodie bags and sending them to the middle schoolers. FFA members also had teacher appreciation day where they gave out gifts to teachers who have been their biggest supporters. 

     They also went to Tractor Supply to sell paper emblems that people could add to their purchases. The week also had certain celebrations for the FFA members to participate in including FFA trivia, taking a  picture with an FFA officer, sharing favorite advisor quotes, and favorite FFA memory. 

    Wyatt has been a part of the club since his freshman year of high school. He said he was most excited about being “more involved with our members” since this year was the first year they have had FFA week in person. Wyatt is a part of the plant science for FFA. 

     “FFA also opens up opportunities for kids to explore career areas outside of their ag[riculture] class,” says Edwards. Students can be taking floral design classes at school but can be focusing on animal science for FFA. 

     The students who are a part of FFA stay after school and study the path that they are on for career development. The career development classes they have this year are nursery landscape, floriculture, vet science, meat evaluation, and public speaking. 

    There are three advisors of the North Harford FFA chapter including Edwards, Mrs. Aimee Densmore, and Ms. Hannah Schantz. They are all co-advisors; they each “take on their different roles,” says Edwards.   

   Densmore collects all membership dues, Edwards takes the lead with their fundraising this year. Schantz is an alumna of North Harford who was also an FFA member and a state officer for FFA.