School Name and Chapter Name: Portage FFA Chapter, Portage High School and Bartels Middle School.
Adviser: Josh Capodarco, Cassie Grassnickle and Skylar Kraemer.
Courses offered: High school — Plant Science; Animal Science; Wildlife Management; Agriscience; Food Science; Advanced Animal Science; Environmental Science; and Leadership, Growth and Success.
Middle school — Discovering Agriculture’s ABC’s; Animals, Food and More; and Experimenting in Agriculture.
Chapter officers: High school — Emily McReath, president; Halie Maier, vice president; Jenna Zick, secretary; Logan Slama, treasurer; Marina Peterson, reporter; Stasya Lurvey, junior adviser; Kyla Hopper, sentinel; and Ashley Grabowski, parliamentarian.
Middle school — Olivia Peterson, president; Jed Hoege, vice president; Izzy McReath, 8th Grade Representative; Ashlynn Clark, 7th Grade Representative; and Abi Bolgrien, 6th Grade Representative.
How many members do you have in your chapter? The chapter has 110 members in grades 6-12. Sixth-grade students participate at the local level.
What are some recent accomplishments? The chapter recently held a toy drive for an area nonprofit. As part of this toy drive, they collected new and used toys from students, staff and community members. They collected close to 100 toys and provided these toys and wrapping paper to the nonprofit to wrap and give to families before Christmas.
How many FFA members are there compared to the size of your school? The school enrolls almost 800 students, and the FFA chapter has more than 100 members, so 13 percent of all students are FFA members.
What are your chapter plans or goals for the year? Goals for the next year include increasing membership involvement, coordinating more community service events and better developing individual student leadership skills. They also are working with new advisers this year and working to make this the program’s best year ever.
What activities have you done within your school to promote FFA, agriculture and leadership? Each spring, the chapter partners with the John Muir 3rd grade class. FFA members teach students how to create pinecone bird feeders to promote environmental education and careers. Members also sponsor an Agriculture Reading Day to foster a love for reading and promote agricultural awareness within the local elementary schools. Several high school students have collaborated with their advisers to create and teach agriculture lessons to middle school agriculture classes and elementary students as part of their Agricultural Education Supervised Agricultural Experience.
How does your FFA chapter impact the community? FFA members are actively involved in the community. This past summer, the community experienced significant flooding and storm damage related to that flooding. FFA members volunteered their time and energy to head to farms and properties to assist with clean-up after the storm.
Where do you see the chapter in 10 years? The chapter will continue to develop student leaders, expand its impact within the school and continue to provide services for the community. The chapter would like to increase membership numbers to include more members and encourage each member to be actively and consistently involved.
Tell us something that’s unique about your FFA chapter: The chapter was one of the first 25 chapters established in Wisconsin, back in 1929. They have been recruiting and developing leaders ever since and are proud of their history and legacy of FFA involvement and promotion of agriculture education.