National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Week was celebrated each day this week at La Porte High School to advocate agricultural education and share the constant impact it has in everyday life. The members of FFA encompassed students of each grade level by allowing them to participate in daily FFA events.
This week’s events were generated by student ideas, and the work done by the new FFA officers played a major role in forming and carrying out activities. With incredible brainstorming and by hearing what other FFA chapters have been doing to celebrate this week, members of the FFA came together to find activities for students every day.
“It was difficult putting all of this week’s activities together, but it has all been worth it,” FFA President Katie Marsh said.
On Monday, members of FFA gave away free popcorn, locally grown by Tuholski Farms. On Tuesday, the members received a visit from the Indiana FFA president and Wednesday, they hosted a free pancake breakfast for members and supporters of FFA’s new chapter. Thursday was “Dress Like a Farmer” day, allowing anyone who paid a dollar and dressed up like a farmer to be eligible to win a gift certificate from Big R. The top three students who best represented a farmer were Kalea Scheffer, Caleb Robinson and Gavin Troche.
Friday might have been the biggest sensation of all, with the small animal petting zoo held in the room of agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor, Rob Walker.
“We wanted to put on the petting zoo for mainly the preschool and special needs students, but the response has been overwhelming from other students and staff. I think a lot of kids have cabin fever right now and are doing the same things while stuck inside. I think this gives them a chance to handle animals and do something they normally wouldn’t do,” Walker said.
The members of FFA brought in their animals from their homes, some of which are 4-H animals shown at the La Porte County Fair.
Before the animals were accessible to students, a veterinarian came in and certified all of them. The swine board from the fair also came in to make sure the animals were healthy and safe to be displayed.
“We have been very fortunate. A lot of local farmers and agriculture businesses have been very generous with donations, which helped make all of this possible,” Marsh said.
FFA kids also contributed their time by coming in before school to set up, and staying after to help clean up.
“It was a joint effort, and it is really great to see everyone work together as a team,” Walker said.
Walker and the rest of FFA hope to set up another petting zoo next year, only bigger and better, making it more organized and developed to help meet the demands of teachers and students.