The Welcome at the Annual FFA Banquet 

Hello.  Good evening and welcome again to Central Lee High School and the Annual FFA banquet.  After speaking with Mr. Boeck this morning, we believe this to be the 32nd annual FFA Banquet.  Actually, Mr. Boeck does remember that first annual banquet.  It was held in Donnellson at the FFA building and he also mentioned that Lee Fraise, the father of Luke Fraise, a current member of FFA, was the president at the time, and a very good one at that. 

This is exactly a piece of evidence to support what I have been thinking about sharing with you.

I was very honored when Remy Wellman the current FFA president asked if I would like to do a welcome because one of the things I am most proud of here at Central Lee High School is our strong, successful agriculture and FFA program.  Whenever someone unfamiliar with our building comes to tour or visit, I am always sure to walk them through our ag classrooms, introduce them to our outstanding ag teachers, and boast on the projects being completed in the ag shop.

My first or second year as the high school principal, I was able to attend the state FFA convention in Ames.  I was invited as the principal for a student receiving a special honor related to their Iowa Degree.  As I sat in the audience and walked on the stage with the family, the student, and the teachers, it dawned on me the impact of FFA and wideness of the scope taught and mastered through the curriculum.  I was amazed at the sure grandness of the program, the professionalism of the program leaders, which was led by students, and presentation skills being demonstrated by these young people.  It emulated leadership.  I saw students living the FFA motto "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve” and hence, the results of a program that has an overall purpose to grow great people.

And this is exactly what I see on so many levels here at Central Lee-   learning by doing and leading.  This is how my teacher brain sees it:  Through the content of agriculture, a topic that impacts all of us indirectly or directly, on a daily basis, our students learn and practice skills that put them on a path of personal growth and future career success if they allow it.

Yes, the content is agriculture… and some would say, “what does that have to do with me, I don’t live on a farm?”  True, but agriculture from early times has played a significant role in forming and contributing largely to society, and continues to rank as one of our nation’s most important core values.  National Ag Day was celebrated on March 18th and the foundation reminded people

“that every American should:

Understand how food, fiber and renewable products are produced.

Value the essential role of agriculture in maintaining a strong economy.

Appreciate the role agriculture plays in providing safe, abundant and affordable products.

Acknowledge and consider career opportunities in the agriculture, food, fiber and renewable resource industries."

This is the content our students are learning in our ag programs-  all students, both those who live on a farm and those who don’t.  And, while they are learning this foundational knowledge they are also gaining valuable processes, skills, and tools for personal and professional success-  teamwork, commitment, integrity, work ethic, speaking, writing, listening, presenting, not to mention how to arch and mig welding, run a combine to harvest the test plot, plan, organize and serve breakfast to nearly 300 community members, and lead the most efficient student organization meetings I have ever observed.   And, these are only a few of the many skills our students are learning to do, and doing to learn.

I firmly believe that Central Lee’s agriculture program and FFA organization is an exemplary program for all programs to look to-  one that could be used as model for both academic or career ed classes alike.  It reaches and teaches our young people exactly what we need to meet our goal of growing great adults.

But, I have often said, a program isn’t the end all be all.  It takes dedicated and skilled teachers to implement it, and I believe this is yet another piece of Central Lee’s success.  Mr. Boeck and Mr. Koller, have the perfect amount of passion for both their content area and young people, combined with outstanding skills in agriculture and teaching, that produce the amount of FFA members you see here tonight.  Both being FFA members of their high school chapter-  you are seeing the results first hand of FFA in the leadership demonstrated by both Mr. Boeck and Mr. Koller.  In fact, I bet there are many results of the FFA program out there in in our community-  those like, Lee Fraise, the first president to run an annual banquet.

And, back to where we began, the annual FFA banquet.  Thank you to the members and sponsors-  Mr. Boeck and Mr. Koller for this evening and for all of the work you do across the school year.  The community of Central Lee is better because of the good people you are, and the good people you are growing. 
Posted by nherdrich On 15 May, 2018 at 9:41 AM  

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