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Rugby High to celebrate FFA Week

By Sue Sitter - | Feb 20, 2021

Sue Sitter/PCT Three Rugby High FFA officers pose in front of a mural painted by past club members. From left are Tyra Lysne, Lauren Voeller and Katelyn Duchscher.

The Rugby High School Future Farmers of America chapter is planning a week of ag-themed fun to celebrate National FFA Week Feb. 22-27.

FFA Adviser Kasey Okke said the RHS chapter’s officers have been busy spreading the word about FFA Week on local media.

“We’ve got six students who did pre-recorded interviews (with Rugby Broadcasters),” Okke noted.

Okke said the interviews will be played throughout the week.

“We’ve got dress-up days,” Okke said, adding all students will be encouraged to participate. “The kids did all the work (for the planning), he said.

Other events include Ag Olympics and a campus-wide search with a prize award.

“I always hide an FFA medallion (somewhere on campus) and I give out clues and give a prize to the student who finds it during the week,” Okke said.

“Then, we’re going to do a teacher appreciation breakfast for both the Rugby High and Ely Elementary teachers,” Okke added. “It will be served by (FFA members).”

“FFA Week will conclude on the 27th, which is when we have a contest on that day,” Okke said. “We’ll have ag sales and agronomy (contests) on that day.”

“It’ll be all done in person and I’m guessing somewhere around 10 or 12 schools will come, which will be somewhere around 100 total kids,” Okke said. “The schools are from our region, anywhere about an hour from here.”

“We’ll follow all the COVID-19 regulations, have masks on and make sure we’re separating schools,” he added.

Okke said Rugby High students will partner with FFA students from Towner. “Towner does livestock judging and then we do the ag sales and agronomy here.”

FFA members Katelyn Duchscher and Amber Selensky, who will represent Rugby High School in the sales competition, explained the event.

“Typically for every single ag sales competition no matter where you go, there are three portions of it,” Duchscher said. “So, the first portion is a written test about selling basics, just selling in general. Then, you do an individual sale with a judge, so you’re trying to sell a judge a product. Then, you do a team sale, when you do a marketing plan for a company.”

“And then, everything’s agriculture-related,” Selensky said, describing another part of the contest. “All of our products have to be used in agriculture. The judge comes in as a customer and you treat them as if they’re going to buy your product.”

“I’m going to be selling livestock broad-spectrum de-wormer,” Selensky said. “My judge comes in as a customer that has sheep, and I sell that to them for their sheep. You have to know the types of worms it combats and how to raise sheep and what times you have to deworm them. You have to have a lot of background knowledge on your product to make sure you can answer your customer if they have any questions.”

“I sell a fertilizer,” Duchscher said. “I have to have a lot of knowledge about how fertilizers work and how they benefit your plants and things like that.”

FFA President Tyra Lysne described some of the other events planned for the week.

“We have dress-up days throughout the whole week,” Lysne said. “At the end of the week, we’re doing an Olympics event,” she said, adding, “It’s kind of like what we do for homecoming, but we do it for FFA Week.”

Lysne said students searching the campus for the hidden FFA emblem will have “new clues to follow every day.”

Lauren Voeller, who serves as FFA sentinel, was in charge of planning the FFA Olympics.

“We’re starting out the Olympics by carrying five-gallon pails of water across the gym. Then, we’re doing corn hole, then a gunny sack race and then, we’re roping. We’re going to rope a dummy,” Voeller said.

“And there’s an egg challenge,” Voeller added. “You have to run across the gym with an egg on a spoon.”

“We’re going to hard-boil them so they don’t fall and splatter,” she added with a laugh.

“There will be four-person teams and (the teams) can sign up on a sheet on Mr. Okke’s door,” Voeller added.

The students described the FFA as the largest club at Rugby High.

“There’s probably 100 (members in total), but active, there are probably 35,” Voeller and Duchscher said.

“Since all the COVID stuff has been going on, our chapter recruiting for younger schools isn’t going to be as big, but FFA Week really helps get people more intrigued in it, because they can’t go to Winter Leadership,” Voeller noted. “That’s where a lot of kids get hooked into FFA.”

“In eighth grade, students can join,” Duchscher said.

“It’s bigger than any sport,” Duchscher said of the FFA at Rugby High. “We just have a ton of members.”

“We have such good ag advisers and teachers,” Voeller said. “Their classes are so good and we learn so much through it.”

“Mr. Okke and Ms. Tonnessen are amazing teachers and I think that’s why we have as big a program as we do, because they’re willing to get any kid who has an interest (in ag),” she added.

“I think so many kids take ag classes, that helps expand our chapter, too,” Lysne said.

“I think a lot of people should know that you don’t have to be a farm kid to be in FFA,” Lysne added.

“There are definitely events in FFA where if you did grow up on a farm or around livestock, that would help you,” Duchscher acknowleged. “But there are definitely tons of events where you don’t need any experience. You can just hop in and we’ll teach you anything you need to know.”

“I think FFA’s unique because (so many skills are incorporated). Like Creed (an event where students are judged for reciting the FFA Creed), speech students are really good at it,” Voeller noted. “So, it plays in with a lot of different clubs because we have such a wide variety of things to do in FFA.”

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