FFA program rewarding for students

Class officers of the Madison Plains Future Farmers of America (FFA) organization gave a PowerPoint presentation to the Madison Plains Board of Education during the Sept. 16 meeting. 

The purpose of the presentation was to update the Board on the FFA’s past performance as well as its future plans.  

Christina Robison, Madison Plains senior and FFA treasurer, gave an overall review of the four components that make up the FFA, which consists of classroom activities, the FFA, the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program and the School Farm.  

She stated that in 2008, 82 percent of sophomores in the agricultural science class passed the science portion of the Ohio Graduation Test.  

Among several state and national awards, the organization was awarded nine state FFA degrees and four American FFA degrees. Locally, the group received 26 proficiency awards and 7 local scholarships totaling $5,500. Also in 2008, they were able to raise nearly $17,000 through sales of fruit, cider and strawberrys.  

Robison explained that the FFA also has community service programs where they have a Relay for Life fundraiser, participate in the Adopt a Highway program and a recycling program and also have a petting zoo during the Madison County Fair. The school farm is student operated and is used for applying classroom knowledge in a "hands-on" learning atmosphere.  

Dennis Henry said this is a "neat" program. 

"It has a lot of benefits to the community and students through the evolving leadership and its hands-on learning skills," he said. "These kids learn life skills that they can take with them."

Students are required to complete the Supervised Agricultural Experience program that takes place outside the classroom where students learn job placement skills, raise livestock, produce a crop and volunteer either at home or for the community.

The FFA budget was also discussed for 2009, as well as future projects where they hope to survey and mark an area for a future sports practice field, and build a barn for farm equipment storage.  

Robinson, as well as the other class officers, all agreed that the program is very rewarding.  

"You definitely apply what you learn out in the field, where math and science is used everyday," she added.

Keeping the change

Also at the meeting, Superintendent Bernie Hall said that starting Sept. 22, students will not be given change for lunches.

"They can either go online to put funds in their cafeteria accounts or whatever change is due to them from their lunch purchase will go directly into their account,"  he said.

TB testing

School Nurse Cindy Neff stated that schools will not be required to perform tuberculosis testing.

"The school has no policies in place at this time and the county will police the situation as far as incidents go," she said.

However, Neff recommended that foreign-born students be tested.

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