The Roundup -

SHS Celebrates 75 Years of FFA


Learning to do. Doing to learn. Earning to live. Living to serve. Ask any local National Future Farmers of America Organization student the FFA motto and it will effortlessly roll off their tongue. For 75 years that mantra has served as the backbone of a local, state and national organization that strives to make a positive difference in the lives of students by teaching them leadership through agricultural education.

The Sidney High School Chapter of the FFA will celebrate 75 years in January while being recognized at a banquet during the MonDak Ag Days and Trade Show. On Jan 9, at 6:00 p.m. at the Richland County Fairgrounds, local FFA students and alumni will be dressed in their uniforms during the evening of a special recognition of the Sidney’s 75th anniversary that will take place following a presentation given by Amanda Radke called, “When City and Country Collide.”

In February, during National FFA Week, the school will also have some recognition of this achievement.

“I think the biggest reason the local FFA has sustained itself all of these years is because of the industries in this area. We have an area comprised of businesses like Busch Ag and Sidney Sugars, dry-land small grains, farming and ranching,” said Vanessa Pooch, Sidney FFA Alumni Vice President. “It’s what people do here,” she added.

Sidney FFA history began during the school year of 1938-1939 with Lambert Hruska assigned as the first agriculture education teacher and Sidney’s first FFA advisor. Chester Moran was one of the first students to sign the Charter and today his name is the only name that is still visible on the original document. Before Moran passed away, a number of students were able to meet with him.

Nationally founded in 1928, the Future Farmers of America changed its name to the National FFA Organization in 1988. Women were allowed to join in 1969.

In the last 20 years the local organization has been involved with many activities. They have been avid fundraisers and have participated in the MonDak Ag Days and Ag in the Classroom with local students. They have held their annual Marion Kay Spices fundraiser. They have also hosted Donkey Basketball tournaments with participants playing basketball while riding on donkeys. They have provided area youth with scholarships and worked concessions at events while hosting career development events and attending local, state and national conventions.

“The goal of the organization is to assist students with all of the different areas of agriculture whether they are interested in farm business management or sales and services, or other areas of leadership development. Over the years the local chapter has stayed true through the decades to those goals,” Pooch said.

Something unique the local Chapter does is partner with Richland Opportunities Incorporated and their recycling program by assisting with the recycling of pop cans, newspapers and other goods through drop-boxes they have built and placed in the community.

Pooch has no doubt in her mind her experience with the FFA helped mold her into the person she is today. So, when she was presented with the opportunity to serve as the Sidney FFA Alumni Vice President, she eagerly accepted. Like the many students who came before her and those who have, and will follow, the FFA is part of who she is. “Some of my most enjoyable memories from High School are the times I spent with the FFA, from all of the different industry tours, to meeting new friends on the bus to National Conventions and now to see the potential students have. It gives me goose bumps to think I was once in their place and compare it to where I am now. Everything I am today is because of the leadership FFA taught and cultivated within me,” she said.

Today, Pooch works as an Agriculturist for Sidney Sugars and previously attended South Dakota State University in Brookings, SD where she received her degree in Agricultural Business.

Throughout the years, many students have achieved awards and accolades through the program. One of the highest honors to receive is the American FFA Degree. To date, in Sidney, this has been awarded to Albert H. Groskinsky in 1953, Chester Hill, in 1988, James Hill, in 1989, Ethan Schaff in 2010 and Ben Johnson and Megan Greenwood, in 2011.

State Degrees have been received by: James Cundiff, David Finnicum (1941), Harvey Peterson (1942), Herbert Fisser, Rex Erps, (1943), Joe Irigoin, Arnold Dige (1944), Albert Groskinsky (1950), Charles Simonsen (1952), Larry Tveit, David McMillen (1953), Russell Johnson (1954), Roger King, Lorence Simonsen (1957), Quinn Rasmussen (1970), Jack Quinnell (1971), Dan Scheetz (1974), Allan L. Jackson, Tim Leland (1976), Fred J. Roedeske, Richard Lewis, Craig Johnson (1977), Calvin Johnson, Richard Scheetz, Jim Thompson (1978), David Franz, Shawn M. White (1982), Chester Hill, James Hill (1987), David S. Hill, Dion Steinley (1990), Eric McPherson (1999), Lane Hall, Jarvis Rehbein, David Winter (2000), Elbert Hill (2003) Cody Flammond (2006), Jenny Cox (2007), Cole Johnson, Ethan Schaff (2008), Ben Johnson, Megan Greenwood (2010), Wacey McMillen (2011), Jimmy Topp, Travis Obergfell (2013).


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