Celebrating what FFA is about; Students get involved in community

STELLA MANNS, Sports Editor

National FFA Week was Feb. 18-25. The Hawk’s chapter of FFA hosted a week full of interactive activities for the community to be involved. 

     Junior FFA President James Ortt said that FFA is hosting events including, “Greenhand Degree, community service, scavenger hunts, social events online, and spirit days.” Last year the FFA club held similar events. However, this year is different, because according to Ortt, last year they had “specific times and dates for activities to take place. This year, the members can take part and do as much or little as they would like throughout the week.”

     Sophomore FFA sentinel Dakota Bonaccorsi said that last year there “were different spirit days.”

     “Texas Roadhouse Fundraisers” will also be an event surrounding National FFA Week, according to junior co-Vice President Cole Hellwig. “Greenhand Degrees” are also available at this time “for freshmen who are more interested in being involved in FFA,” Hellwig added. He also said that in White Hall, MD, students are hosting an event for “donations for the Humane Society at Southern Sol.” In past years, the club has “volunteered at Tractor Supply to raise donations for National FFA,” the junior expressed. 

     Senior Chaplain Maggie Layman said that during FFA week students were to participate in spirit days. “Tuesday was career day, Wednesday is dress like a farmer day, Thursday is ‘step into FFA day’ and Friday is official dress/gold and blue day.”

     Around the school, students who have FFA jackets could be seen “giving them to teachers for the week,” sophomore FFA reporter Waverly Iriarte said. Similarly to her fellow officers, she said that freshmen were being encouraged to get their Greenhand Degree during FFA week. 

     During this celebratory week, the FFA social media pages run by the school make posts about each officer. The posts have a picture of the student accompanied by their SAE, CDE and LDE. “An SAE is a Supervised Agricultural Experience. A CDE is a Career Development Event. An LDE is a Leadership Development Event,” according to Ortt. 

     All agriculture classes use SAE to “persuade a student’s passions for a topic in the working world,” Hellwig explains. He also said that a CDE is “where students compete in teams under a certain topic of agriculture against other schools.” Finally Hellwig added on the definition of an LDE by saying that though it is very similar to a CDE it is an “individual student” activity where they “compete by themselves in different topics.”

     Sophomore FFA secretary Grace Bauer said that students plan their SAE “project at the end of their freshman year and this project goes all the way through” their junior year. Students are “required to get 40 hours per year” according to Bauer.

     Ortt’s SAE is “growing different varieties of soybeans.” His CDE is “agronomy,” and his LDE is “Senior Extemporaneous Public Speaking.” 

     Each student can have different versions of these three activities. Hellwig’s SAE is “researching different dog breeds at Miller’s Farm Market,” his CDE is “Poultry Judging and Evaluation,” and his LDE is “Senior Prepared Speaking.”

     Throughout senior co-Vice President, Elisabeth Holmes years in FFA her “SAE has involved growing and Chrysanthemums.”  As she is in her senior year the senior is focused on her capstone project where she “researched how adding biochar to the soil affects how Chrysanthemums grow.” Holmes plans to take her SAE one step further. 

     Iriarte has different activities than her other officers as well. Her SAE is “showing and working with a gilt on North Harford’ Show Team.” Her CDE is “forestry,” and Iriarte has worked on the LDE’s of “Creed Speaking and Junior Prepared Public Speaking.” 

     Bauer is “hoping to compete in Vet Science” for her CDE and public speaking for ehr LDE.

     Layman’s SAE is “about determining if trap color affects how many crayfish each trap catches,” with her CDE being “agronomy,” plus an LDE in “extemporaneous speaking.”