Vandalia Leader

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Van-Far FFA develops agricultural leaders

Posted on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 7:55 am


Ashton Garnett, Grade 12 “FFA has been one of my favorite experiences throughout high school. I would have to say that my favorite thing overall was trap shooting. I was lucky enough to be a part of a fun, yet competitive team, which went on to achieve a lot in a short 4 years.”

Reported by Rebecca Moore

We believe in the future of agriculture.

Our Van-Far FFA chapter is growing great leaders that will one day have a great impact on our community. As we move to the future, we see there is a need for leadership. Our FFA chapter is getting students ready for what is to come, teaching them how to be great leaders, and getting them involved in our community.

FBC Food Pantry Picture: Chapter Officers presenting the First Baptist Church Food Bank with our canned goods raised and the monetary donation. Pictured (from left): First Baptist Church Food Bank Representative, Cayden Caldwell, Ennis Childs, and Kirsten Scott.

We believe in leadership.

This year our 2020-2021 officer team planned some great events to get members active and excited about FFA. From our traditional events such as the annual FFA Barnwarming, FFA Church Sunday, the Community and Supporters Breakfast, Area V Battle of the Chapters, and the annual FFA BBQ; to new events such as pumpkin painting, bingo, and a virtual scavenger hunt. The officer team and advisors have worked hard to follow local guidelines while planning our FFA events. Although these all sound like fun events, our members have worked hard to go on these trips by raising money from our annual fruit sales, plant sales, and the annual BBQ. These events would not be possible without your endless support!

Recently, the Missouri FFA state officer team visited the Missouri House of Representatives where State President Justin Eddy addressed the House. State Vice Presidents Lauryn Robnett, from Community R-6, and Colin Wilburn, from Van-Far, were recognized by the House for their leadership and contributions to agriculture. Both are in their first year at the University of Missouri in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The award was presented by State Representative Kent Haden District 43. Haden was honored to make the presentation as he was a State FFA Vice President the year that girls were allowed in the FFA.

We believe in experiences.

Our students have experienced many once in a lifetime of a trips through our chapter. Some of those trips included State FFA Camp, National FFA Convention, and the HYPE and HYMAX academy. Although, this year looked a little different for trips, students still made the most of the opportunities by participating in the activities in a virtual format. We had four members of our chapter participate in a virtual Fall Public speaking event, two students participate in Virtual Show-Me Summit (replacement for FFA Camp), as well as the entire chapter had to opportunity to experience National FFA Convention on a virtual level. This year we had FFA members participate in many different community service events, such as continuing our Adopt-A-Highway efforts this fall. This includes cleaning a 2.67 mile stretch of roadway in front of the school. We also had a few students volunteer to help deliver meals for the Mexico Senior Center each Monday. This program allows for the students to interact with the community. During this time, students have delivered over 250 meals to members of Laddonia, Farber, and Vandalia.

Classroom: With the addition of the second agriculture education instructor, we have been able to add a wider variety of class opportunities for our students. For example, we added food science, natural resources and conservation, and advance animal science courses. With these new courses, came new positive experiences for our students. In the natural resources and conservation class, students created and made their very own jerky.

We believe in career development.

This year we have high hopes for our CDE and LDE contests, as we already have members studying hard! Outside of contests, we have our trapshooting team. Our trapshooting team competed throughout the fall in various trap shoots around the area. There were several first year trapshooters, so this provided for a great learning experience for all involved. This year our trap shoot team received first place at Area V Trapshooting. They then went on to compete at the district level. This year we had many students shooting a perfect 25 for the first time at trapshooting events! Clayton Heaton (senior), Ashton Garnett (senior), Hunter Scrogin (junior), Adam McCurdy (junior), and Andrew Myers (freshman) were the group of young men that competed at the Area V trap shoot and then went on to compete at the state shoot.

Chapter FFA Meetings: This year our Chapter FFA Meetings looked a little different due to COVID-19. Although in January, students participated in a new activity, FFA Bingo. Students participated to win a variety of prizes throughout the night.

We believe in giving back. All of our events throughout the year would not be possible if it was not for our amazing and supportive community. As a way of saying thank you, our chapter has had several community service projects to give back. For instance, this year, the students completed a National Day of Service through the National FFA Chapter. Members collected canned and non-perishable food items, along with monetary donations to donate to the Vandalia First Baptist Church Food Pantry. We would also like to say thank you to everyone who makes FFA possible from our ag teachers Blaise Stuedle and Ashlee Waddell, to our supportive FFA Alumni group, as well as our Van-Far FFA Advisory Board Members, and everyone who has bought from our fundraisers- THANK YOU!

We asked our members if they had anything they wanted to share about their FFA experience….

Mara Jensen, Grade 10

“ My favorite FFA memory is the battle of the chapters. Even though I couldn’t participate in all of the events, it was fun to watch our FFA chapter win!”

Trapshooting Picture: Students on the Area V Winning Team and students that competed at the Northeast District Shoot and the Paul Larsen Memorial Shoot included (from left): Clayton Heaton, Ashton Garnett, Hunter Scrogin, Adam McCurdy, and Andrew Myers.

Clara Wallace, Grade 9

“I was excited to have the opportunity to show my steer at the Northeast District FFA Expo this past summer. It allowed me to make new friends in FFA that will last a lifetime.

Hunter Scrogin, Grade 11

“I think my favorite memory from the trap shooting season was when we won the Area V Trapshoot in West Quincy. Each of the team members worked together to achieve something that has not happened for a while at Van-Far.”

Barnwarming Candidates: The 2020 Barnwarming King and Queen were Latrell Wright and Annalynn Culwell.

We believe in the future of agriculture. We asked our advisors Ashlee Waddell and Blaise Stuedle what their goals for our FFA chapter is.  Their replies are as follows:


Ashlee Waddell, Chapter Advisor

“Due to COVID-19, we’re going to move this event to a virtual platform…” is something I have heard over, and over throughout the last year. Starting my third-year teaching at a new school, with those conditions, was not the ideal situation. I was excited to join the Van-Far Family this past July. Van-Far FFA is a chapter that is deeply rooted in tradition and has the community support that is needed for a successful chapter. These are two things I find to be the most important aspects of a chapter.  The students I have met have been passionate agriculturalists who have rose to any occasion to meet goals that Mr. Stuedle and I had set for them, regardless of the situation. I hope that they can learn from this past year that change is not always easy, but it is necessary in order to adapt and move forward. Being an agriculture educator, I get the pleasure of seeing youth development and goals achieved at an up-close, more personal level. I have enjoyed getting to know all of the students and their individual passions this year and am looking forward to seeing them grow and achieve their own personal goals.


Blaise Stuedle, Chapter Advisor

“I believe in the future of agriculture…” as the freshmen learned this year, is the opening statement of the 1st paragraph of the FFA Creed. Becoming an agriculture-education teacher, I am invested in the future of agriculture by educating our future leader and agriculturalists. I believe this chapter is one that is rich in history and deep with community support. Starting of my fourth year, as well as adding a second instructor, I wanted to keep with the same traditions, but add our own spin to activities and events. This year we were also faced with battling COVID-19 and how to incorporate activities and events that were safe yet engaging for our students. Going into the year, the chapter officers, Ms. Waddell, and myself set many goals for the chapter this year. With our goals in mind, we have set out to continue the great traditions at Van-Far High School with Van-Far FFA.”


Van-FAR FFA Seniors

Name: Michael Allen
Parents: Tony Allen
What are your future plans? Attend State Tech to be a technician
What is your favorite FFA memory? PBR
What is your SAE? Helping my father with construction
How has FFA impacted your life? Taught me people skills and the importance of agriculture.

Name: Cayden Caldwell
Parents: Chris and Stacey Caldwell
What are your future plans? To attend Northwest Missouri State University and major in Agriculture Business and minor in Animal Science or Livestock Management.
What is your favorite FFA memory? My favorite FFA memory would have to be my freshmen years National FFA Convention because I got closer to a lot of the upperclassmen and it was a fun experience.
What is your SAE? Landscape Management Placement
How has FFA impacted your life? FFA has helped me grow as a leader and as a person. I have learned so many skills that I ca use in my life and I have overcome my fear of public speaking through FFA, as well as made many great memories and friends. It has also led me to have a passion in agriculture and to pursue a career within the agriculture industry. Being involved in FFA was the best thing I did in high school.

Name: Panna Connaway
Parents: Pat and Crystal Connaway
What are your future plans? Go to college
What is your favorite FFA memory? National FFA Convention
What is your SAE? Tending to my cattle
How has FFA impacted your life? I made a lot of memories while attending the FFA activities

Name: Annalynn Culwell
Parents: The late Shannon and Felicity Culwell
What are your future plans? Attend the University of Missouri- Columbia
What is your favorite FFA memory? 2020 Barnwarming
What is your SAE? Crop production
How has FFA impacted your life? I have made lots of friends and memories

Name: Ashton Garnett

Parents: Deanna Nolan (Scott Otis), Ashley Garnett

What are your future plans? Achieve a 2 year degree from State Technical College for Diesel Mechanics. Then I plan to run my own auto/diesel repair shop right after.

What is your favorite FFA memory? 2020 Barnwarming

What is your SAE? Agricultural Mechanics- Placement

How has FFA impacted your life? FFA has shown me that even at such a young age, you’re still able to achieve what many adults think is impressive. It helps with communication skills, work ethic, and time management.

Name: Stephen Goodman

Parents: Christopher Goodman

What are your future plans? To join the military for 6 years, then get out and go weld for a living.

What is your favorite FFA memory? The PBR Event in St. Louis

What is your SAE? Working at DQ

How has FFA impacted your life? It has helped me manage my money.

Name: Bradley Harvey

Parents: Rodney Harvey, Carrie Harvey

What are your future plans? To be a diesel mechanic

What is your favorite FFA memory? Working in construction

What is your SAE? I worked construction with my dad.

How has FFA impacted your life? It has made me a better person.

Name: Clayton Heaton

Parents: Lorrie and James Heaton

What are your future plans? To pursue HVAC at State Tech

What is your favorite FFA memory? Tying for first in area for trap shooting.

What is your SAE? Beef production and placement

How has FFA impacted your life? It’s taught me to go out of my comfort zone in order to succeed in life and the classroom.

Name: Trenton Lower

Parents: Tony and Candice Lower

What are your future plans? To go to college

What is your favorite FFA memory? In-person Scavenger Hunt

What is your SAE? Helping my dad with trucks

How has FFA impacted your life? It taught me patients with Mr. Stuedle.

Name: Rebecca Moore

Parents: Alan and Paula Moore

What are your future plans? My future plans include attending Missouri State University and I plan to major in Elementary Education.

What is your favorite FFA memory? My favorite FFA memory is having the opportunity to attend the National Convention and having the opportunity to be an FFA Officer for the past 3 years.

What is your SAE? My SAE includes raising cattle.

How has FFA impacted your life? FFA has made a huge impact on my life, FFA brought me out of my shell and provided for a lot of memories to look back at after high school. After 4 years of FFA I was able to make many new friends and gain life experience.

Name: Tyler Schambach

Parents: Mike and Carol Schambach

What are your future plans? To work and stay in touch with friends

What is your favorite FFA memory? Helping with the FFA BBQ and working in the greenhouse

What is your SAE? Working with my dad and raising pigs

How has FFA impacted your life? FFA has pushed me beyond my comfort zone by making new friends and teaching me responsibility

Name: LaTrell Wright

Grandparents: Charlie and Teresa Wright

What are your future plans? Go to State Tech for Medical Radiology

What is your favorite FFA memory? Going to National Convention

What is your SAE? Produce production

How has FFA impacted your life? It made high-school more fun and an easy way to get involved. You meet people you wouldn’t have met any other way from all over. You are a part of something that is bigger than you.