RANDOM LAKE — The FFA chapter at Random Lake High School is an active organization that is involved in many activities and events throughout the school year. 2016-17’s chapter is no different.
Starting back in October, a group of seven FFA members attended the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. Traveling with five other local chapters, advisor Whitney Rathke and her students took a coach bus stopping along the way to tour an urban agriculture facility in Chicago, The Plant. Other stops included the Indianapolis Speedway and Fair Oaks Farms.
Though historically FFA was for students hoping to go into production farming, that is no longer the case. Keeping the letters ‘FFA’ is part of the organization’s history though they now welcome students who aspire to be scientists, doctors, teachers, business owners, and more.
“FFA is an organization which focuses on premier leadership, personal growth, and career success,” explains Rathke. “These seven students got to experience the expanding world of agriculture from a Chicago urban setting to a large scale 10 rotary parlors milking 30,000 cows three times a day at Fair Oaks Farm.
During the National FFA Convention, students explored the expo center with hundreds of college booths, agriculture companies and organization sponsored activities. Students attended breakout sessions and heard keynote speaker Diana Nyad share her experience of being the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage at at 64.
Upcoming events for the RL FFA chapter included National FFA week starting February 19th, which includes FFA related activities each day such as milk chugging competition and scavenger hunts. In March, members will participate in judging team contests that include livestock, horse, and veterinary science categories. Their annual Mother’s day plant sale will take place May 13th and also in May they will organize Food For America which involves educating the public and elementary age students on FFA and agriculture.
“What I appreciate most of all is the passion and enthusiasm the students bring to the chapter, school, and community of Random Lake. These are youth to invest in and the future of the agriculture industry. I can’t wait to see what they do next,” said Rathke.