High school is a period in life where students are meant to be academically challenged, but also have fun while experiencing new things. Although for some this can be stressful with the worry of getting bad grades and fitting in. For some students, the biggest challenge can be figuring out where they belong or what they will continue to do after high school. Jasper High School has approximately 30 clubs and organizations creating new opportunities for students to find where they belong. Future Farmers of America (FFA) is a club where students can be themselves and have a community that is like family. FFA has many different divisions within the umbrella of one club. From working with engines to Ag business to plants there are many chances for a student to find their niche. Jasper teacher Andrew Helming speaks on his experiences with FFA, saying, “FFA was finally a place where I had a chance to do something I liked: hanging out with other kids and do things that meant something to me.” Many students can benefit from getting out and participating in clubs and organizations.
Andrew Helming is an agriculture teacher, he teaches Advanced Animal Science, Animal Science, Principles of Agriculture, Natural Resources, Ag. Business, and Ag. Power structures. He has not only been an agriculture teacher for 8 years but has also been a part of FFA for 16 years. He now is an advisor of 8 years for FFA where he is a coach for Crop Scouting, Soils, Livestock Skill-a-thon, Forestry, Small Engines, and Envirothon. “FFA opens it up to a type of student that likes more hands-on things, or maybe just like a broad array of things,” says Mr. Helming, “because we do everything from what would seem like farming with soils and all that to district leadership contests where you’re working on speeches.” There is also another advisor Ms. Lammers who coaches members on Entomology, Dairy Foods, LDE’s, and Crops. With a club that is available to every student it should be no surprise that there are over 800,000 members nationwide. At Jasper High School there are about 50 members attributed to FFAs mission to make a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.
Interview w/ Skylar Weisman
What does FFA mean to you?
For me, in high school, FFA was a chance for me to actually have a place to kind of fit in. I didn’t do sports. I didn’t do other stuff. FFA was finally a place where I had a chance to do something I liked: hanging out with other kids and do things that meant something to me. I knew it would prepare me for what I wanted to do. I found a group that fit me.
How important do you feel that is for people? To participate in FFA?
I think it’s important for our students to participate in FFA because, like I found my niche there. Some of them this is their niche. It also maybe expands their mind. It’s not the same set of people all the time that you get as all your academics and all this stuff. It opens it up with a different type of student more than like hands-on things, or maybe just like a broad array of things because we do everything from what would seem like farming with soils and all that to district leadership contests where you’re working on speeches. And essays and all that type of stuff.
Would you consider FFA to be a pretty big club considering there are so many sub-compartments here FFA?
FFA is a pretty big organization. It is actually the largest student organization in the United States. It’s bigger than BPA or any other organization across the US. We are pushing 800,000 to some 100,000 members.
What about FFA makes it a unique club?
I think it’s unique because of the broad array that we have. There’s something for everyone whether you like animals or plants, wildlife nature, you like mechanics, there’s a niche that anybody can fit in. You like to do those leadership contests. You’d like to lead, you like to do community service, all that type of stuff. There’s something there for everyone.
Would you say that the main thing of FFA is to make sure there’s a place where people can come and they can feel like they have something?
There is a good goal of FFA to make sure everybody has something they can do and maybe broaden their horizons.
Written by: The J Staff