Ann Cox, who leads the FFA at GCHS, was to be our featured speaker Monday February 17 at 7pm. Due to the weather forecast and the weak internet in our area, we will postpone her visit until later in the season. However, here is some information about FFA and it’s importance to our kids and our community.
At the Grayson County CATE Center, we currently have over 200 students in Agricultural
Education courses from Grayson County High School and Independence Middle School. These
students are an important part of the bright future ahead for the agricultural industry in
The National FFA Organization, better known as the Future Farmers of America is a core
component of school based agricultural education. This youth organization allows students to
develop leadership skills through the context of agriculture and apply their knowledge beyond
the classroom. Many Career and Leadership Development Event competitions compliment our
curriculum directly, allowing students to participate in agricultural academic events against
other agriculture programs in the area and state. Participating students have the opportunity
to travel to many locations in Southwest Virginia, the state and across the nation. Additionally,
students can become leaders of our local chapter to help plan chapter events, and a banquet
for their peers and the community. Through this organization students are provided with the
opportunity to develop knowledge and soft-skills that are necessary in the workforce.
A goal of our three-teacher department is to expand the agriculture program beyond the
classroom by working with each student to develop an individualized Supervised Agricultural
Experience (SAE). This SAE program encourages student to develop strong goals to develop
their own student led project. Those projects might be caring for their livestock or small
animals at home, creating their own or working with a landscaping company, producing
agriculture crops or caring for a garden plot, creating projects in the agriculture shop and
many more. When students devote their own time to these projects, they become eligible for
advanced degrees of FFA membership and various awards. These awards come from the
local, state, and national level depending on the amount of time and effort the students
commit. For many of our students, this might be the only academic honor they receive during
their high school career.
A major barrier standing between some of our students and these various opportunities for
achievement and recognition are the $12 of FFA dues per student. For many of the families
we serve, the cost of FFA dues is a financial burden. Currently all schools in Grayson County
are at an economic level that every student is eligible for Free and Reduced Lunch.
For the above reasons, we are seeking $2,000 of combined sponsorship to affiliate
membership with the National FFA Organization so each student has the opportunity to be a
FFA member. We are contacting 20-25 local agriculture and farm entities to help reach this
goal collectively. FFA Chapters see the greatest success when the students participate year
after year and provide leadership to younger students. Therefore, we would like this to be a
sustainable project so our students can maintain FFA membership each year. Each year we
conduct a citrus fundraiser however, those funds are mainly utilized to cover travel and
registration for FFA events throughout the year. Securing our goal of $2000 would be a small
investment that will open many doors for our students of Grayson County.
Our Agricultural Education department would appreciate any level of support to help develop
the future of agriculture in Grayson County. Please feel free to contact me to further discuss the
benefit of FFA to our students in Grayson County and how you can contribute to that goal.
The Grayson LandCare board has agreed to offer $500 to FFA to support their projects in anyway
they feel would be the most helpful.