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FFA- Growing Successful Futures

FFA Day at the Legislature
Courtesy of Ethan Bloomfield
FFA Day at the Legislature

The National Future Farmers of America (FFA) Organization helps students build life skills through agriculture education. The Wheeling Park High School FFA Chapter is headed by Mr. Ethan Bloomfield, who has been both the Agriculture teacher and FFA advisor since the fall of 2022.

“I am passionate about agriculture,” said Bloomfield. “Young people today are on average 2-3 generations removed from the farm, and frankly, some don’t know where their food comes from. I want to help bridge this gap so that as a population, we can be better informed on where, how, and why food is produced the way that it is. I also want to show students that agriculture isn’t just farming. There is a huge opportunity to be involved with agriculture through just about any career field you can think of whether that be technology, social media, biotech, education, business, and the list goes on.”

Some valuable lessons that I’ve learned are that it does get hard sometimes, and you really have to just keep pushing through it and that your friends and your teacher and your advisor are always there for you.

— Abby Willson

Bloomfield also recognizes the important personal lessons FFA can teach students.

“One of the biggest lessons that they learn is patience and the value of hard work,” said Bloomfield. “Nothing in agriculture or life happens overnight therefore not a lot of what I teach can be learned in a day nor do we get results from experiments or projects in a day. Today’s world revolves around instant gratification, and I teach kids that it takes time and hard work to be successful in life.”

The students are also extremely passionate about being members of FFA.

Abby Willson is a junior and the Park FFA Secretary.

“I joined because I’m very into agriculture and horticulture and the ways of how we grow things and… how everything runs in the world,” said Willson. “Growing up on a farm, that’s something we looked at, a lot of agriculture stuff. So becoming an FFA [member] is just helping out with my future.”

FFA also has an upcoming competition February 23rd.

“The competition on the 23rd is our LDE which are speaking competitions,” said Willson. “We have a bunch of different topics and categories and some of them you can have a prepared speech and some of them… you just get a speech and you have to know what you’re talking about.”

I want to help bridge this gap so that as a population, we can be better informed on where, how, and why food is produced the way that it is.”

— Ethan Bloomfield

Willson also took the time to reflect on valuable lessons she’s learned from FFA.

“Some valuable lessons that I’ve learned are that it does get hard sometimes,” said Willson. “And you really have to just keep pushing through it and that your friends and your teacher and your advisor are always there for you.”

Japeth Bayes is a junior and also a member of FFA.

“We do a lot of stuff,” Bayes said. “First of all, we do competitions, we work hands-on with animals and plants in the greenhouse… We do everything. There’s speech competitions, there’s animal competitions, plant competitions… there’s milk, bugs, anything you can think of that has anything to do with the production of food.”

Bayes also elaborated on what types of competitions Park students usually like to participate in.

“Different schools usually lean towards different things,” Bayes said. “We do plant pathology every year, we do livestock judging, poultry judging, and we have someone go to the LDEs… we also did agriculture mechanics this year… the first year we did it. But I’d say usually livestock, poultry, plant pathology, and just animal stuff mostly. That’s what we tend to lean towards.”

Bayes also talked about the FFA jackets with pride.

“That is our official dress,” Bayes said. “It’s like our code to wear at competitions and other events and has nothing to do with ‘you can earn it’. You get it as soon as you join.”

 

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About the Contributor
Taylor Andrews, Managing Editor
  • Journalism II
  • Senior
  • Young Patriots Choir, Park Players President, Speech Team Interp Division Leader
  • Future Goal: Broadway Starlet
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