School Name and Chapter Name: Fort Atkinson High School, Fort Atkinson FFA.
Advisers: Jeff Agnew, Shannon Lyon.
Courses Offered: Agriculture Leadership, Animal Science, Plant Science, Agriculture Production, Landscape Design, Agriculture Business, Horticulture, Food Science, Veterinary Science.
Chapter Officers: President, Jadyn Krause; Vice President of Student Development, Signe Kind; Vice President of Chapter Development, Natalie Yandry; Vice President of Community Development, Emma Lemke; Secretary, Caitlin Stedman; Treasurer, Jax Bound; Reporter, Paige Huppert; Sentinel, Deanna Pfaff.
How many members do you have in your chapter and what year was it established? 279 members for the 2018-2019 membership year. Fort Atkinson FFA was charted on Nov. 25, 1930.
What are some of the chapter highlights (activities, membership, awards)? Relationship and partnerships with the community are a valuable part of our chapter. The local Park and Rec, Chamber of Commerce, and other groups/businesses seek out our students for a variety of jobs from marketing and farmhands to landscaping and retail opportunities. These relationships also lead to the FFA helping with a number of activities spearheaded by the people and groups we have built those relationships with including beautifying the city by planting trees and flower pots around town. Additionally, for the past three years, the Fort Atkinson FFA has worked with our local business community to sponsor a dinner for first responders and military personnel and their families. This event, called the S.E.R.V.E.S. Appreciation Dinner, is held at the beginning of November and free for all first responders, active duty military, veterans and their families. The dinner is sponsored by local businesses and all proceeds are donated to a first responder or military organization. In the past three years we have been able to donate almost $4,000 to a range of causes including: the local police department K-9 Unit, community fire safety education program, and the Fort Atkinson Fire Department for use in purchasing equipment to increase First Responder safety at accident scenes.
What are some recent accomplishments? CDE and LDE participants performed well at competitions this year (first place Dairy Cattle Evaluation Team at Fox Valley Tech Contest, Top 10 Horse Team at State contest, one member competing in State for Employment Skills Contest). We also have eight Wisconsin State FFA Degree Candidates for 2019, and three applicants for their American FFA Degree for 2019. In the beginning of June, we received a $3,000 grant from Compeer Financial for the purchase of lab supplies, $150 from American Transmission Company for the purchase of sugar maples to plant on school grounds, $500 from the local Agribusiness Club for the purchase of flowering trees for planting on school grounds, and a $1,000 Living to Serve grant from the National FFA Organization for the purchase of trees to be planted around town.
How may FFA members are there compared to the size of your school? About 1/3 of school population.
What are your chapter plans or goals for the year? We have a full year-round Program of Activities that promotes student development, chapter development, and community development activities ranging from a strong Youth Apprenticeship and Agriculture Co-op program to selling a full semi truck load of fruit, cheese, sausage, and nuts and working with a wide range of community organizations.
What activities have you done within your school to promote FFA, agriculture and leadership? This May we were able to bring in half the State FFA Officer Team to conduct workshops for our members and other leaders within the school. This was made possible by our FFA Alumni who purchased the workshop at the State FFA Alumni Convention in February. Last year, the FFA Alumni, along with community supporters and other school groups, purchased an LED sign for the school that was placed on the main road leading to the school. This allows the FFA, community groups, and the school district to advertise events to the community. Additionally, we create and place banners around school for our various events and write announcements to be read highlighting FFA events and member accomplishments.
How does your FFA chapter impact the community? Provide a lot of students for work experiences, perform a wide range of service projects, and promote agriculture awareness in the community
Where do you see your chapter in 10 years? The chapter is currently growing so continuing that growth through the next 10 years is definitely a priority. Additionally, striving to continue to expanding opportunities for students to learn about and experience a wide range of agricultural careers is always a goal. We have a strong Youth Apprenticeship program currently, but expanding the program to include more students and a wider range of experiences and business partnerships is a goal for the future. Lastly, establishing a solid farm-to-school program to bring fresh produce and herbs to the school nutrition program is achievable with the current facilities we have in place.
Tell us something that is unique about your FFA chapter. We have a close relationship with some strong local Ag Businesses (Hoard’s Dairy Farm, Jones Dairy Farm, TopCon, Nasco). We can call any one of them up for assistance and they will either be able to help or find someone who can. These relationships help our students know what happens behind the scenes in the businesses, provide work experiences for students, and provide support for our department and our chapter.