By Woodrow Polston
A crowd of parents and young children funneled into the Van-Far Elementary School for an evening of learning and fun last week. Hosted by the Van-Far FFA, students had the opportunity to read stories to the young visitors, help them to make pamphlet style books, go on a book walk to win books, and even went on a scavenger hunt throughout the school building. The first station on the adventure was a snack bar, which was stocked with plenty of bags of popcorn.
“We have six different stations that are set up tonight,” said FFA member Devyn Keller. “In the reading stations, we have Mara, who will be reading “Otis”, and Abby who will be reading “Turkey Goes to School,” she added. Parents received different colored bulletins at the door when they arrived to put them into groups. Those groups were separated to keep a nice flow of traffic to the different stations.
“Critters aren’t allowed at school,” said Millie. “You need to stay at the farm,” said Abigail Hunn, as she read from the book “Turkey Goes to School,” written by Wendi Silvano. The children laughed as she continued to read the story. “Gobble, gobble,” groaned Turkey. “We just have to go to school. We can’t miss out on all that fun!” she added.
In the gymnasium, FFA students were assisting children as they participated in the book walk. A large circle made up of disposable paper plates with numbers written on them were laying on the floor. As the children walked the circle stepping from plate to plate, the music would occasionally stop, and a number would be called out. Whoever was stopped on that number, had the opportunity to choose a book to take home from a selection that was displayed on the stage. Some of the titles to choose from included “My Pet Spot,” “Amazing Dolphins,” “Farm Help,” and “Confessions of a Gym Class Dropout.”
Principal Brian Hummel estimated that there were 26 children that came out for the event.
“This is the first year that FFA has done this,” said Hummel. “Normally we have reading events throughout the year, but this is a new one. I believe that they are planning on continuing to do it,” he added. FFA leader Blaise Stuedle stated that the event was not part of National FFA week.
“We were supposed to do this at the beginning of the month, but with all of the snow we had to cancel and reschedule for tonight,” said Stuedle. “We are looking forward to National FFA week. We have our barbecue on Saturday, a community breakfast on Tuesday, and some other events toward the end of the week. There will also be a contest in Eldon to finish off the week. It will include some career development events that will be taking place,” he added.
Each year, FFA chapters around the country celebrate National FFA Week. According to their website, Future Farmers of America was established in Kansas City, Mo., in 1928. The First National FFA Convention was held in Kansas City, Mo., with 33 delegates from 18 states including Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin in attendance. Leslie Applegate from New Jersey was elected first national FFA president. Currently, the national FFA student membership base is comprised of more than 700,000 students, with an alumni base of more than 8 million members.