Archive for Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Forever FFA

May 13, 2009

Corduroy was the fabric of choice Thursday evening at Tonganoxie High School.

It was the navy blue variety, in jacket form, as select THS students wore their Future Farmers of America jackets for the 28th annual Tonganoxie FFA Chapter banquet.

In all honesty, it was my first at Tonganoxie. The last time I attended a banquet was in 1996 during my senior year of high school.

Ouch, that hurts to type “1996” and “high school.”

OK, now that I’ve gotten over the realization that my senior year was 13 long years ago (yes, this year’s seniors were in preschool when I last wore my FFA jacket or donned my high school cap and gown), Thursday’s banquet was an entertaining event to cover.

It brought me back to those FFA banquets of yesteryear, the feast served at the banquet. A great meal of delicious meat, potatoes, side vegetable and roll. That’s how I remembered those banquets back in the day, with whole hog being served at those affairs. I must say it was a bit traumatic as a child seeing the swine on the table with apple in mouth, but I eventually got over it.

After the meal, I always watched many classmates receive awards for various accomplishments.

I, meanwhile, became more involved in the state FFA band, which performed at the state convention every summer at McCain Auditorium on the Kansas State University campus.

It always involved a long week of rehearsal preparing for the performance on the final night of the convention.

No, I didn’t raise any livestock or the like, as is commonplace in the organization.

Yes, I kept a record book, took horticulture, etc., etc. I was involved, but I’d have to say the band gig provided my best niche with FFA.

On Thursday, it was a treat seeing Tonganoxie standouts being recognized for their hard work in the same organization.

The structured setting of the FFA officers and their adviser, each with verbiage to recite as roll is called.

The reciting of the FFA Creed, which a few chapter members did before receiving their Greenhand Degrees, took me back a few years.

I recall when we had to recite the creed — while being videotaped at a podium.

It was in front of the entire class, and some classmates did their best to make you laugh while you were trying to deliver the creed.

In fact, I think I got off to a rough start.

Reciting the first line, I said, “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of deeds but of words.”

The correct wording is “faith born not of words but of deeds.”

The Greenhand Degree recipients did far better than I ever hoped to in reciting the creed.

Tonganoxie FFA members were recognized for their many accomplishments Thursday, but their adviser, unbeknownst to him, would be the object of praise as well.

FFA members’ parents recognized adviser Randy Kraft for his many years of service in FFA. He’s been an agriculture teacher and FFA adviser for 31 years.

Fellow students, including one who learned from Kraft in the mid 1980s, couldn’t be at the banquet, but their words were read during the program.

Many glowing comments about Kraft and the impact he has had on them could be heard in the Tonganoxie Performing Arts Center.

The same was true for my FFA adviser, who served several years at my alma mater.

At the end of the banquet, officers for 2009-10 were announced.

I look forward to writing about next year’s accomplishments as well and once again strolling down my own memory lane.

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