Future Farmers at Apopka

Jessica’s ducks

Future Farmers of America is a “leadership organization for students enrolled in agriculture education. Many of our activities are leadership based. However, we do have career-oriented activities, as well. They are called career development events, or CDEs. Several of our students also show animals through the FFA,” says Ms. Sanchez, the sponsor of FFA here at APK. To outsiders, FFA just seems like another club. However, FFA focuses on developing important life skills, as well as competing in plenty of agriculture-related competitions. “In FFA, you must qualify to compete at any state competition. We qualified to compete in the state, vegetable judging career development event back in November, and in December our members competed at the state level and placed seventh for their very first time competing in the state competition. We also have Preliminaries for Meat Judging, Floriculture, Aquaculture as well as Veterinary Science coming up in the next few weeks,” stated Ms. Sanchez. Many of these contests haven’t occurred yet–contest season ranges till April–so there are still plenty more competitions to compete in. Vice President Jessica Zeno, a Sophomore here at APK, participated in the Meat judging contest. She also “participated in parliamentary procedure and poultry judging. [I’ll be] showing my two ducks at the central Florida fair,” she explained.

FFA judging at the Meat competition

FFA also has some fun events planned for teachers and students to participate in, “We are currently preparing to celebrate National FFA Week, which runs February 20-25. We will be bringing back our teacher breakfast as well as doing activities with the Starter Darter preschoolers here at Apopka High School and reading to students at Apopka Elementary. We are also hosting a movie night for our feeder schools Apopka Middle and Wolf Lake Middle FFA members,” shared Ms. Sanchez. FFA looks to grab the attention of more agricultural students, and reaching out to our feeder schools gives high hopes to FFA in the near future. Speaking of hopes, FFA has some goals for this year. Ms. Sanchez shared some of the goals for the organization, “We strive for growth in our FFA members in whichever area they are compassionate about. As a chapter, you were named one of the top FFA chapters in the nation this past October at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana.” Jessica shared some ideas as well, mentioning fundraising for their state competition, “More fundraisers, we are thinking about creating a new fundraiser soon to start raising money for the FFA state convention.”

FFA isn’t just about competing in competitions, they benefit students with important life skills for the future. “FFA provides students with leadership skills as well as public speaking skills, and most importantly time management skills which are necessary for their futures,” says Ms. Sanchez. Jessica told The Blue and White how FFA has taught her important life skills, and how there are competitions for learning these skills, “Different leadership skills and many different opportunities. Throughout the year we go to many different leadership conferences that teach us how to communicate better and how to be the best leaders we can be. Also in career development events (CDEs) and leadership development events (LDEs), we learn different things that can help build up our resumes and get us introduced to possible future career choices.” FFA is focused on its agricultural aspects while also helping students become the best selves they can be.

On February 11th, FFA’s Meat team placed 11th in the state and is moving up to states.

FFA at the Meats competition