Having just arrived at the Farm Show Complex in Harrisburg on Monday morning, members of the Tunkhannock High School FFA, accompanied by adviser Rob Gustin, were eager to take in the sights prior to the Pennsylvania State FFA Association Mid-Winter Convention held later in the day.
Story and Photo by Rick Hiduk
(Originally published in the Rocket-Courier )
Thirty-five of approximately 50 FFA members from Tunkhannock High School traveled to Harrisburg on Jan. 8 for the 108th Pennsylvania Farm Show and the Pennsylvania State FFA Association Mid-Winter Convention. They arrived early enough to roam the expansive Farm Show Complex to take in the variety of livestock exhibits and demonstrations prior to the exciting afternoon event in the New Holland Arena.
According to THS FFA advisor Rob Gustin, the club is very active at the school, conducting fundraisers, starting new projects, and preparing for several other events. “It’s the second year for our greenhouse project,” Gustin cited as an example. “We want to expand that this year.” The students will start raising meat chickens at the school soon, which will include learning how to process them.
Several in attendance are interested in learning to restore tractors and had heard that their counterparts at Northeast Bradford High School had one on display at the Farm Show. Others are learning about livestock judging and will have an opportunity to apply their skills next fall at the Bloomsburg Fair.
Among them is Violetta Belles, a 10th grader who is learning equine judging. Violetta said that her three years with FFA has boosted her confidence and provided opportunities for her to see and experience a lot of new things.
THS junior Keegan Franko enjoys the fundraising aspect of membership and is looking forward to the FFA’s annual chicken barbecue sale in the spring. Keegan, who serves as the club’s treasurer, added that FFA has helped improve his leadership and communication skills.
Sophomore Emma Daubert is also a member of 4-H and raises hogs, as well as breeding and market goats. Though she was not showing any animals at the Farm Show, the experience that she has gained as a member of both youth organizations has paid off, Emma said, when she has shown her animals at the Wyoming County Fair and other venues.
“We stay busy,” said Gustin, who has been the group’s advisor for the past two years. The FFA will travel to Danville High School on January 19 for a mechanics competition, and the group will conduct a donkey basketball tournament at the high school in Tunkhannock on April 12. Though none of the students received their FFA jackets at the Jan. 8 convention, Gustin noted that five of the teens would be receiving them this year and credited Wyoming County resident Victor Cappucci for the sponsoring the purchase of the cherished jackets.