The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.

"Country Boys and Girls Getting' Down on the Farm"

by Mitch Worley, Special For The Quill

Students in a community near you are going to be blocking traffic by driving tractors to school, bringing a vast array of domesticated animals ranging from pigs to llamas to school, and sporting some sweet corduroy jackets throughout the week of January 16th-23rd.

That's right; the entire nation will be covered in National Blue and Corn Gold all next week for National FFA Week. FFA Chapters all across the nation will be celebrating time honored traditions established for the celebration of National FFA Week not only at the National level, but ones that have become a staple within local chapters as well.

This week is a culmination of several things, but for the most part is a great opportunity for FFA members to show off their hard work and achievements from the year, as well as having some down home, country fun.

West Central will be starting FFA Week off Tuesday with Teacher's Appreciation Day, FFA t-shirt day, and Ag Olympics later on in the night. The Ag Olympics event will bring several Section IV chapters to participate in competitions along with West Central in various agriculturally related events.

Wednesday will bring FFA members coming to school in their official dress with their FFA jackets and black pants or skirts, and those that dress for the occasion will receive a free meal in the Ag Room. They'll also be doing a program called "Food for America" with West Central 3rd graders.

Thursday is Greenhand Initiation Day, breaking in the younger FFA members and getting them ready for what is to come later on in their development as an FFA member.

The entire school also benefits Thursday by being able to wear hats throughout the school, and all faculty and administration will also benefit by being able to enjoy a nice meal prepared by the ag students.

The final day of FFA Week on Friday will be "Dress Like a Farmer" Day, along with a Petting Zoo for all ages to come out and enjoy throughout the school day.

West Central FFA Advisor Darrell Gittings has a lot to be proud of with his FFA program. They have great recognition in the areas of Livestock, Dairy, and Horse Judging at the Section and State competitions, as well as boasting two Section IV officers from their chapter.

Abby Corzatt was elected to the office of Secretary, while Rachel Jack became the Section IV Sentinel. Rachel also has had a great deal of individual FFA success in being the winner two years straight at the Section Sheep Proficiency CDE.

Currently, West Central is building up to become an upper echelon FFA program known not only throughout the State, but even receive some National attention as well.

Mr. Gittings said, "I want our chapter to be one that's going to be recognized as one of the best not only in this part of the state, but in the whole state. I would also like to have our chapter get some National recognition and be a silver or gold winner.

"I just want to see our name, our kids walking across the stage at State or National Convention someday."

Along with working hard to become one of the more prominent FFA programs in the area, West Central is also looking to branch out and do more within the community.

They already do a fine job of that by hosting a Labor Auction in the Summer in conjunction with other fund raising events with the FFA Alumni group from West Central as well.

Darrell is from around the area originally and it is a great passion to give back to the community what he had been given in his development and growing up when he was in high school.

There are still a great many events going on for West Central FFA members as there are still a few CDEs left to participate in, come April, being capped off by the Chapter Banquet near the end of the school year.

If you'd like to have a great time and help support West Central FFA, the Chapter Banquet is a nice outlet to do so. Not only is there great food and great fun, but its also a great gesture of support by coming to see all the accomplishments the members have achieved throughout the year and see their plans for the future and learn how the community can help them reach those goals.

FFA is a wonderful opportunity for all high school students not only to have some fun, but to learn about agriculture and see how it effects every aspect of our lives.

Do your part to help support FFA endeavors by contacting your local FFA chapter and contributing your time, money, and effort into helping brighten the futures of the youth of America.

( Editor's note: Reporter for this article, Mitch Worley, is a recent La Harpe High School graduate and former FFA member taking college courses in broadcasting and journalism at Southeastern Community College. He works part time at the radio station and Hawk Eye in Burlington, IA.)