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Mancos FFA chapter ‘exceeds expectations’ in first year

Seventeen students involved in ag-based program

The Mancos chapter of Future Farmers of America has exceeded expectations in its first year at Mancos High School, teacher and club sponsor Travis Greenlee said Tuesday.

“We’re super-excited,” he said. “We want the community to know we’re here.”

Seventeen students have enrolled in the program this year, including kids from all four high school grade levels. Greenlee said that number was higher than expected, and he hopes they can build on that participation to grow the program in future years.

FFA is a national intracurricular student organization for those interested in agriculture and leadership, according to the website. Greenlee participated in FFA when he was in school, and thought an agricultural community like Mancos should have its own chapter. Several students pushed for Mancos to start the club, and Greenlee signed on to get it off the ground.

In the first semester, students have spent most of their time in the classroom, learning about FFA and what it does, Greenlee said. FFA students have conducted several fundraisers and will participate in the Cortez Parade of Lights on Saturday.

They’re also working on an essay assignment about an experience in the field, such as raising an animal for the county fair, he said.

The next FFA event will be a community dance from 7-11 p.m. on Dec. 17 at the Mancos Community Center. The club wants to be an active part of the community, but members also need the community’s help in giving back, Greenlee said.

Junior Ashley Cole said she hopes to see the program develop to have multiple agriculture classes, as well as specialty classes for students looking to learn more about certain aspects of agriculture.

“For the younger students, I hope they learn that ag is important not only to this community but to the nation,” Cole said.

Senior Jessalyn Bay-Voit, who is chapter president, said she hopes to see an expanded space for class and shop work for FFA in the future, as well as more hands-on learning. Bay-Voit participated in 4-H growing up, but she said FFA is structured to help members see what they might want to pursue in the future.

“FFA is geared toward preparing for a career,” she said.

Cole said FFA helps students develop real-life skills, such as woodworking, welding and auto mechanics, which can be very useful for Mancos students.

“It’s fun, and it’s been an eye-opener,” she said.

Greenlee said he and the students ran with it after administrators gave their approval for FFA. It’s been a great start, and he hopes to see it continue, he said.

“It’s unlike any other class,” Greenlee said. “It’s so much more hands on. ... There’s no career that you can’t tie in to ag in one way or another.”