contract to comply with IC 20-26-5-4.3.
In 1928, in a meeting room in the Baltimore Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri, 33 young farm-boys charted a course for their future, affecting the lives of millions of students thereafter. At this initial meeting, the FFA Chapter (Future Farmers of America) began. At the time of its inception, the FFA was created for those living and working on farms across the United States, and for those who wished to study agriculture. Today, with its name changed to represent the diverse and changing interests of members and reflect the expanded agricultural opportunities encompassing science, business and technology, in addition to production farming, the National FFA Organization is 650,000 members strong.
At Union City Junior/ Senior High School, FFA is one of the largest co-curricular clubs in which students can participate. It is a part of a 3-step model that includes Classroom Instruction, FFA Activities, and Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs that allow students to gain career skills in Agriculture. Union City is blessed to have two FFA Advisers, Ron Smith and Cindy (Mote) Nunez, who oversee all classes and organizational meetings. With two advisers, students at UCJSHS have the opportunity to enroll in more agriculturally based classes while having greater chances to participate in the numerous FFA activities that are planned locally, regionally, and nationally.
According to Nunez, “FFA offers a wide variety of Career Development Events (CDE’s) and Leadership Development Events. These events are offered at the county, district, state, and national levels. Students can compete in contests ranging from livestock, soils, crops, forestry, dairy judging, to leadership contests such as demonstrations, public speaking, and creed speaking.” Adds Smith, “Our students are also able to participate in hands-on CDE’s like Small Engines and Welding because of us having two advisers and a strong, parental support team.” Recently, the UCJSHS FFA Chapter has seen great success at these events and competitions. The Dairy Foods, Dairy, and Crops teams have qualified for the state, and Meats teams placed 4th and 5th at the state level. The Soils and Dairy Teams placed first in Randolph County, and the Small Engines and Soils teams placed very high in the District. As individuals, Derick Williams placed first in the District and top-6 in the state in the Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest, and Rylan Glunt qualified for the State Soils CDE as a Jr. Individual. Katie Reichard placed first in the Soils CDE for the second straight year, and Ian Glunt and Braydon Hoggatt placed 6th in the very competitive District 9 Small Engines CDE.
In order to support the organization’s activities, the 28 members selflessly raise the funds needed for a successful Chapter. In the fall, the UC members host a hog raffle, in the winter they sell fruits and nuts, and in the spring they sponsor a chicken dinner. Money earned from the group’s fundraisers go toward covering the costs of judging fees, conventions, leadership camps, and community service activities. The UC FFA Alumni also financially support many of the Chapter’s activities, namely the End of Year Banquet.
What started out as a simple group for farmers has grown into one of the nation’s largest organizations. Today, the National FFA Organization remains committed to the individual student, providing a path to achievement in premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Now, the organization is expanding the nation's view of "traditional" agriculture and finding new ways to infuse agriculture into the classroom. And at Union City Junior/ Senior High School, FFA opportunities are definitely taking root.
While most students and families packed up and headed south over the recent Fall Break at UCJSHS, students in the National Honor Society stuck around town to help make the home of one local woman a bit brighter by sponsoring their second Union City Home Makeover.
Two years ago, the organization sponsored their first home makeover for Terresa Bradburn. At the time, Terresa was pretty sick and unable to do some “outdoor upkeep” around her home. The group came together and weeded, grubbed, painted, and planted. It was a great experience for the students, providing them a first-hand experience of selfless giving.
This year, the members of NHS “took over” the home of Desiree Hardwick, a 1988 graduate of Union City. After some phone calls, emails, and Facebook chats with Desi and her mom, Janey Carrico, the National Honor Society created a to-do list for this event. Over the course of two days, their goals included spray washing the house, cleaning out the eaves/downspouts, weeding the flower beds and re-landscaping, preparing the back patio, and adding shutters to the windows. The group managed to check-off each item from the list, and then some!
Event chairperson, Reagan Hoggatt, said of the activity, “It’s great coming together for the good of another! We worked very hard and the outcome was very rewarding, for Desi and for us!” The organization worked earlier selling Butter Braids to help raise funds for this, and future, projects. But through the kindness of local businesses and community friends, the expenses were limited. Says Hoggatt, “Lowes, in Greenville, helps us out by giving us a 17% discount on our purchases, and when we purchased the plants, they sold them to us at 75% off! We got $400 worth of plants for a bit over $100.” Didier Hardware in Union City donated all the mulch needed to redo the flower beds, and community friends Sharon Hoggatt, Melissa Adelsperger, and Rhonda Fields provided lunch and treats on the group’s last work day. Recently, the organization received a donation from community friend Junellen Bradburn, to help with any of the group's future endeavors.
Though it was late into October when who knows what will happen weather-wise, the group was blessed with two beautiful days to work. And their work has blessed Ms. Hardwick immensely. “Everyone worked their tails off- what a great bunch of kids, to take time out of their Fall Break to do this...There really is no way to express thanks enough for all the hard work everyone put into this.”
By Brad Hoggatt, RESC Correspondent
Bump! Set! Spike! And rest! At least that’s what guests may see when the staff at Randolph Eastern School Corporation takes to the floor on Wednesday, November 6 to help raise money for the Randolph Eastern Classroom Teachers Association (RECTA) annual senior scholarship. This annual event helps to supply funds for the $2000 scholarship the association gives to a graduating senior going into the field of education and has been welcomed with open arms and hearty laughs.
The games start Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the UCJSHS gymnasium. Admission is only $2.00 per person, which is money well spent for a great cause and a great time! Concessions will also be available for purchase for a minimal amount with all money going into the scholarship account. The teachers and staff have added a raffle this year- all paying guests will automatically be included in the drawing, no extra purchase necessary!
Ashley Gard, the event coordinator, says, “This event is near and dear to our hearts because it helps one of our own enter into a profession that truly changes lives. We’d love to fill the gym with guests- we’re hoping for a great turnout!”
There are four teams set to compete on Wednesday. Team Black includes- Jennifer Vincent, Cobie Wells, Brad Hoggatt, Justin Daniels, Philip Brewer, and Senior team member Britney Kniesley. Team Gray is made up of Natalie Morgan, Andy Stover, Kevin Lawrence, Tonya Harshman, Ashley Gard, and Holly Morris. Making up Team Red are Aaron Black, Tony Evans, Ashton Noggle, John Zakelj, Valerie Overleese, and Senior team member Alex Bragg. Finally, Team Blue consists of Nancy Whitted, Kayla Noggle, Mike Thompson, Kyle Whitesel, Brittani Webb, and Senior team member Sydney Ralston.
The weather is set to be a bit off-putting by Wednesday, but your presence is encouraged at this event. Grab your umbrella and put on your raincoat, make your way to UCJSHS and show your support for a fantastic event headed up by a group of fantastic people!
This is only the second year for the festival. Last year, NHS Adviser Brad Hoggatt used it as a chance for students to raise money for a learning trip to New York City. Since a trip wasn’t in the works for this year, his NHS students decided to take over the reigns and use it as a dual fundraising opportunity- for the organization and for The Randolph County Promise. The Randolph County Promise is a program that helps families start CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings accounts through their schools, seeding the accounts with an initial investment from a local or regional sponsor, and rallying the community to match deposits that families and champions contribute to the account. Senior member and event chairperson, Sydney Ralston, states, “We sold booth space for $15 this year. Half of the money will go back to the NHS for their service projects while the rest will go to the Promise Program.” At this time, over $200 will be donated by the NHS for this great cause.
Participating businesses and organizations include PAWS (Pets Are Worth Saving), The Corner Cupboard, Team Image Apparel (a NEW UC spirit shirt will be available for ordering with $5 of each shirt purchased going back to The RC Promise), Posh!, LipSense by Senegence, doTerra International, Color Street Nails, Lula Roe, thirty-one, Pampered Chef, and the Randolph County 4-H Club. Linda Puccini will be there, hosting a raffle to benefit the Tony Puccini Memorial Scholarship Fund, as well.
Kim Knox will be present with her beautiful hand-made jewelry, Seth Fowler with his woodworking, and Jamie Matchett and The Artisan Loop merchants with their products. Delicious baked goods ranging from homemade pies to dumplings, from cookies to cakes, will be available for purchase from various groups and individuals. Visitors will also be able to dine in or carry-out yummy lunch items provided by Joe Wyant and his family (smoked pulled pork) and Laura Elliott and the Costa Rica Service Learning Trip participants (hot chicken salad sandwiches).
Crafters and sellers will be present, too. From wooden signs to hand-painted art; from embroidery to decorative wreaths and holiday decorations; from Christmas ornaments to garden art, and so much more, this will be an event one won’t want to miss. “This is a win-win-WIN situation”, says Hoggatt. “The community gets a chance to shop local and support their friends and families. The vendors are able to share their talents with those who may not know of them. And the students in our county win because of the donations being made to this awesome cause!”