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FFA wraps up busy 2019

FFA wraps up busy 2019

By FFA reporter Casey Fisk and FFA President Dylan McConnon

The summer of 2019 started as a struggle for many FFA members after long time Advisor, Mr. Larry Reyburn retired, with over 30 years of service to Cedar Springs Public Schools. During this absence, leadership for the club was carried out by the Cedar Springs Alumni Association and Friends. Alumni meetings were held monthly to work with students on projects such as Land Lab, Livestock Judging, and Officer Training Camp. The Alumni Association worked with the Administration at the High School to ensure that the program would continue to be able to provide opportunity for students in the absence of an Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources instructor. After an arduous interview process that included input from both the student body and Administration, the Cedar Springs Public School District was pleased to announce Mr. Brent Willett as the new Ag teacher and FFA Advisor. This could not have come at a better time, as the Officers were headed to a state leadership training camp just three days later. After a successful camp, chapter officers began planning fall activities for the upcoming academic year.

The first order of business for the chapter was the Kent County Youth Fair. Members ran the agriculture adventure barn, an initiative by the KCYF board to teach the community about agricultural industries. After planning several events, the barn was a huge hit seeing as many as 500 participants daily. But fall community events did not stop there. Agriculture Olympics kicked off the school year with events such as milk chugging, hay bale tossing, and the all time favorite pitchfork toss. State officers Haili Gusa and Devin Haywood were also in attendance to represent the remainder of the state. The overall podium included Mr. Garret Migoski, Mr. Gavin Spicer, and Ms. Casey Fisk. 

It was a successful kickoff and a fun start to 2019.

Fall traditions in the FFA didn’t stop with Ag Olympics. Drive Your Tractor to School Day (DYTTSD) ran on the morning of September 20th. Tractors of all shapes and sizes traveled miles to get to campus in time for breakfast provided by the CSHS kitchen staff. After school, reporter Casey Fisk took photos and participants paraded through campus with a police escort generously provided by the Kent County Police Department. Dozens of tractors participated along with a guest appearance by Mrs.Hilyard and Mrs.Marrow on the CSHS gator. It was a fantastic turnout and another safe and fun display of agriculture in Cedar Springs. 

The FFA annual Harvest Day exposes 2nd graders in the district to agriculture, often for the first time. This year was no exception. Kids enjoyed animals brought in by members as well as large agricultural equipment provided by Nutrien Ag, apples provided by Hart Farms, and a corn maze Created by Mr. Willetts Ag and Natural Resources class. 

The FFA continued tradition in the Cedar Springs Red Flannel festival as well as the annual trip to the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis. 10 members attended with two chaperones where they attended sessions by motivational speakers and industry leaders. Members met students from all 50 states and 4 territories of the United States and toured the Apache Sprayer Plant just outside of Indianapolis, Indiana. 

New for November this year was the Michigan FFA Broiler Contest. Students learned about animal nutrition and health by raising twenty five birds in order to compete in the contest. Bryant Maley, Seth Almas, Isabel Wood, and Sam Rusche of the Animal Science class took the birds to Munsell’s Poultry Processing in Fowlerville Michigan to watch their birds be processed and then be evaluated on the carcass and record keeping of the group. FFA officers Casey Fisk and Gideon McConnon also raised birds for the contest. 

President Dylan McConnon wrapped up November by participating in the Farm Bureau Discussion Meet. There, participants compete in constructive discussions about ag related issues and are judged on their input and conversation steering abilities. “It was neat to hear others’ views on problems we see all the time,” said McConnon. Topics discussed included suicide rates among struggling agriculturalists, issues with increasingly severe weather events, and anti-agricultural bullying on social media. McConnon was the state alternate for region 4. Later, he attended the Farm Bureau state annual meeting with advisor Mr. Willett where policy in agriculture was discussed. 

The FFA capped off 2019 with their annual Christmas party organized by member Madison Skelonc. Members enjoyed fellowship and the age old classic “A Christmas Story” while eating holiday food. 

All in all, the fall of 2019 began with uncertainty but ended with a promising future.

2020 is off to a great start with Cedar Springs representing district contests such as Parliamentary Procedure, Creed Speaking, Job Interview, and Demonstration at the end of January. Additionally, the chapter has received over $1,000 in grants from the Michigan FFA Glassbrook Endowment and the CHS Foundation. Exciting things are happening at Cedar Springs Public Schools as we work to create a bright future for agricultural, career, and technical success. For more updates and information on the happenings of the CSHS FFA, follow us on Facebook @cedarspringsffa.

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One Response to “FFA wraps up busy 2019”

  1. Larry Reyburn says:

    Great article!


Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union


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