FFA Week: The Adams-Friendship and Wisconsin Rapids-Lincoln chapters
As National FFA Week is celebrated, Feb. 20-27, we take a look at two local chapters
Adams-Friendship FFA Chapter
By Rebecca Grabarski
The Adams-Friendship FFA Chapter focuses on leadership, service, and education. Before COVID, the chapter would provide education to all students in the district from 4K to seventh grade. These activities included reading to students, tours, farm days, safety days, and career days.
Members also learn leadership by participating in conferences across the state and nation. Chapter members serve the community by hosting cleanups, visiting residence homes, and donating food to the food pantry.
This year, members held an animal parade for residents at Villa Pines. Members also visited local farms to learn about pumpkins, potatoes, and cranberries.
FFA members are currently working on a service day project to show appreciation to staff and a virtual visit with elementary students to read and do a project. Members are adapting to virtual conferences and activities, but are looking forward to things “getting back to normal.”
Wisconsin Rapids – Lincoln High School Chapter
By Jeremy Radtke
FFA is one of the leading national youth groups in terms of participants and is the largest career and technical student organization in U.S. high schools today. For those of you unfamiliar with FFA, it strives to prepare high school students for leadership and building 21st century skills that center on careers in the science, business, and technology areas of agriculture.
The Wisconsin Rapids – Lincoln High School (LHS) Chapter, chartered in 1934, is just one of over 250 chapters located throughout Wisconsin. The chapter advisor is Jeremy Radtke, Agriculture and Technology Education instructor at LHS. The activities conducted during the year by the chapter provide students enrolled in agriculture education courses with practical experience and a strong foundation built on the skills and knowledge gained in the classroom.
Since many of the FFA activities performed by the LHS Chapter usually involve community engagement, coping with the current pandemic has significantly altered this school year’s happenings. Consequently, the group has had to temporarily limit its efforts in the local community and focus on more on-campus endeavors.
For example, FFA students have donated numerous hours working in the high school’s greenhouse performing activities such as managing the 1200-gallon aquaponics system which holds 100+ tilapia fish, preparing the existing greenhouse dirt floor for concrete, and assembling benches that will be used to cultivate various plants including ornamental flowers, tomatoes, peppers, and a handful of other vegetables.
These plants will then be cared for by FFA members and the Horticulture class to eventually be sold at the annual spring plant sale fundraiser. The greenhouse hydroponic machines, also maintained by the students, produce lettuce, parsley, spinach, and a variety of herbs for the Wisconsin Rapids School District lunch program. FFA students were given the opportunity to make and can homemade spaghetti sauce and tomato soup utilizing produce they grew and harvested themselves.
Other FFA activities included landscaping projects in and around school grounds, harvesting tree sap to make maple syrup, and caring for the school’s on-site residents: Zeus, the miniature horse; Trix, the class rabbit; and Little, the Holstein calf.
In a normal year, the Chapter concentrates its attention much more on community involvement.