While the Stanton FFA Chapter may be one of the oldest in Nebraska, enthusiasm for participation has not waned with the years.
Instead, the 81-year-old chapter boasts a membership of 72 members in grades ninth through 12th. That is about 85% of the high school population, said advisor Morgan Schwartz who has been with the Stanton program for six years.
“We work really hard and we get a lot done,” Chapter President Sutton Pohlman said. “But, we have fun.”
Pohlman, a senior, has been in FFA for all of his high school years. He will be working towards his State Degree this year, he said. He will be joined by fellow senior and Chapter Reporter Ellie Locke in that endeavor.
Pohlman is also considering continuing his FFA work after graduation by working towards his American Degree. The Stanton chapter had two American Degree recipients last year. Kyle Wylie and Amanda Schmidt each received the prestigious award.
Schmidt still helps out with chapter activities, Pohlman said. This is indicative of the kind of support the community gives the program, he said. His sister, Chapter Secretary Kinley Pohlman who is a junior, said it was due to this terrific support that the chapter has been able to construct an ag lab in their classroom.
“We constructed our own type of greenhouse with aquaponics/hydroponics in our classroom,” she said. “We have a very large classroom.”
Unfortunately, a large part of the chapter’s activities have been curbed by the COVID pandemic. It has been frustrating for the FFA members.
“When we went to online learning we couldn’t do anything FFA,” Locke said. “Missing out on so much, like State Convention was disappointing.”
Earlier in the year, the Stanton FFA members were able to enjoy giving back to the community. In the summer, they painted the community pool buildings and held a Fourth of July Pancake Feed, she said.
In early June, the chapter held its annual Progress Show. This is an area event that invites participants from anywhere to bring and show their cattle, goats and sheep, said Chapter Treasurer Savannah Siebrandt. It is a very popular event that grows each year, she said.
The pesky COVID virus has not diminished the chapter’s efforts to give back either. This holiday season they are assisting a local business with their Tree of Caring. Contributions to the Tree provides toys for disadvantaged children.
Stanton may be considered a small town, but there’s nothing small about their hearts. None bigger than those belonging to the FFA members.