Community Agriculture Alliance: FFA chapters in Hayden, Soroco have much to be proud of this year

Jeannie Jo Logan
Community Agriculture Alliance
Members of the Soroco and Hayden FFA chapters attend the state career development event in Fort Collins.
Courtesy photo

As the school year comes to an end, the Hayden and South Routt School Districts have accomplished many milestones through their RISE grant efforts.

The foresight of the district leaders to take the initiative to apply for the RISE — Response Innovative Student Equity Education — grant has afforded Hayden and South Routt to implement and expand career and technical education, or CTE, programming for their students.

The students have a lot to be proud of over the past year. From the newly formed FFA chapter in Hayden that adopted a motto, “Building a tradition, leaving a legacy,” this year’s officer team along with 30 members truly made this happen. They participated in several community events and engagements as well as local and state FFA activities.

The students hosted a Veterans Day celebration, made blankets for the local fire department, hosted a community chili cookoff and participated in the National Ag Rally sponsored by Victory Motors. They hosted the District Leadership Conference as well as a Meat Field Day in collaboration with South Routt and CSU.

Additionally, they took 15 members to Fort Collins to participate in the State Career Development Event, where they competed in ag mechanics, floriculture, meat evaluations, vet science and livestock judging.

In parallel, the Soroco FFA chapter continues its steadfast traditions of chapter and community engagement, while continuing to strive for state placements in proficiencies and judging teams. This year the chapter had eight state-winning proficiencies and a state-winning livestock judging team that will represent Colorado next fall at the National Convention in Indiana.

They also had district winners in the creed speaking contest, quiz bowl competition, parliamentary procedure and speaking contests, all of which will represent at the state competition in June. They also had a National SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience) winner for the first time in Soroco history.

Collectively, both districts were able to implement and expand curriculum starting in kindergarten. With the adoption of the DIGS lesson (Developing Individuals and Growing Stewards) created by CSU, there are now enrichment lessons of agriculture education at both elementary schools.

Middle school students in Hayden are able to participate in an intro to ag, metals and business while students in Soroco participate in intro to ag, hunters education and wildlife identification, and leadership curriculum.

At both high schools, students were able to receive curriculum in all six CTE career pathways of agriculture. Classes were taught in animal sciences, agribusiness, food products and processing, natural resources and wildlife management, horticulture, small gas engine, power, structural and technical systems, welding and intro to agriculture.

In addition to the great leadership programs, both school districts will install the long awaited food labs for hands-on education and potential curriculum expansion with CNCC, CMC and CSU.

This endeavor has fostered relationships, expanded learning opportunities for our students, and has increased support from local businesses. The support from the local community and generosity has been amazing; their dedication to the success of our students was palatable through both in-kind and donation monies toward each program.

Jeannie Jo Logan is the Yampa Valley RISE grant project manager.

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