FFA students excel in service projects and competitions
School is winding down, but it takes a lot for FFA students to slow their pace. Projects have continued throughout this school year with some flexibility required of students. Alta-Aurelia FFA members had to forego a few events this year due to the pandemic, but they can be proud of what they were allowed to do.
“We were able to hold events during National FFA Week, we competed in virtual judging events in the fall, and had Drive your Tractor to School day during homecoming,” Jamie Haugen, Agricultural Education and FFA Advisor for Alta-Aurelia Community Schools, said. In December they held a hat, glove and mitten drive with donated items going to students at the Alta and Aurelia Elementary School buildings.
Resilience was part of the mix this year. “Not being able to attend events in person was challenging to get students to want to participate, especially since we haven’t been sure if we will actually be able to have the competition in person due to COVID restrictions,” Haugen said. “Luckily we were able to compete in virtual district livestock judging, dairy judging and horse judging all while being in our classroom.”
The demographics of A-A FFA will change significantly next year. “This year we will be graduating quite a few seniors from our chapter who have helped pave the way for our younger members. We hope to have a large group of freshmen and new members join next year to continue to grow our chapter,” Haugen said.
In other achievements, the FFA District Convention was held on March 6th in Lake Park where A-A students competed and excelled in events which included chapter quiz, greenhand quiz and floriculture. On April 14th, they participated in the Beef Extravaganza Scholarship Event held in Ames where five members in two teams competed.
FFA member Kelly Jensen enjoyed FFA this year despite all the COVID-related setbacks. She competed in events she would not have in the past, she said, and although some events could not be attended in person, there was a wider selection that could be attended virtually.
FFA member Abbie Watts missed some face-to-face community projects in which she normally participates such as Feed the Farmer and helping at the Allee Mansion in Newell for a farm safety event. Her fruit sales had to be done by phone this year.
Remaining FFA events for Alta-Aurelia students include the state FFA convention in Des Moines on April 19th and 20th. “We will have six members attend with a Poultry CDE team competing,” Haugen said. “April 26th is the virtual envirothon and we will have five members participate in that. We also will continue to have our monthly meetings. In July we will have members exhibiting livestock at the Buena Vista County Fair.”