New CSHS FFA members sign official charter

Conway Springs High School FFA students signed their charter on Feb. 23. The charter members are, back row from left, Julia Zoglmann, Darrek Bishop, Kira Forrest and Janel Meyer. Front row: Russell Chitwood and Brayden Kunz.

By Travis Mounts 


CONWAY SPRINGS – Six students at Conway Springs High School have signed the charter for the school’s new FFA program.

The program is in its first year, but not yet having a charter has limited what the chapter can do, said advisor Zach Cooper. They have been “very limited” in their activities.

“This recognizes us, and we can compete in State and districts,” he said. “It’s a stepping stone.”

FFA members have done some fundraising and helped out at last month’s Viola Lions Club sausage supper. The goal right now is to promote FFA and try to build up the number of participants.

Cooper said the new chapter has found support from several areas.

“We have a good, strong agricultural community around Conway Springs,” he said. The administration and the board of education also have been support.

Cooper is in his second year teaching in the district. He came on board as an industrial arts teacher, but this year is considered an industrial arts and agriculture education teacher. When interviewing for the job, he inquired about FFA. He had been an FFA advisor in Abilene, and was a state officer in Colorado.

The school district was interested in FFA as well, setting up a future for FFA at CSHS.

This year is a foundational year, and the charter members know they are working primarily for the future of the chapter and for students who have not even entered high school.

Cooper said the students said, “We’ll take it upon ourselves to shape it for future generations.”

The FFA program is not just for kids growing up on farms. More and more, FFA members do not live on farms at all. Instead, they have an interest in an agriculture field that is becoming more scienced based. Cooper’s animal science class at Conway Springs High School is considered a science elective.

“A lot of people are realizing that kids don’t have to go to a four-year college anymore,” Cooper said.

FFA can provide a background not just for agriculture, but also for other possible degrees from two-year schools. FFA, he said, is for anybody who wants to learn about ag.

“There’s a saying, ‘It’s not just about cows, plows and sows, but also beakers, speakers and career seekers,’” Cooper said. “The industry is becoming more advanced and more diverse.”

Future agriculture jobs could range from helping Third World farmers increase their crops to integrating drone technology into agriculture.

CSHS FFA students signed their charter on Feb. 23. Their next big event will be the 95th Kansas FFA convention in Manhattan from May 30 to June 2.