Mr. Doug Thurnau is the St. Elmo and Brownstown Agriculture instructor and FFA leader. His commitment to the program and enthusiasm for his field is evident upon meeting him. His St Elmo FFA chapter has 70 members. The FFA is constantly participating in events, contests, workshops, conventions, conferences and many more. Turnau stated, “We have more FFA events then I could name. The elementary and high school FFA weeks have Ag Olympics and other events, community service projects, 25 kinds of Career Ready Contests-of which has multiple contests for each, more scholarship programs than any other organization, summer camps, and summer trips. This usually equates to me spending about 1,000 hours over normal classroom time per year. Students get to pick and choose what things they want to go to. They do not have to do it all, but for their sake I wish they would.” With so many options, a student is bound to find something they love and achieve success.
As an FFA member a student could expect to have more skills and be more capable to handle what life throws at them. Even when students graduate high school they have a chance to be on the FFA Alumni committee. What the alumni does is to help sponsor trips and events for current FFA high school students. Mr. Thurnau encourages past members to be on the Alumni committee to help out with the FFA program. It is important in an agricultural area for established farmers to support future farmers so that they have reliable workers and partners at a later time.
The National FFA offers $2.5 million in scholarships each year. This does not include the scholarships offered outside the National FFA Program. Every year there are more than $5 million given away as scholarships to students from Agriculture companies. If you go and earn an agriculture degree, finding a job in your profession won’t be difficult, because 26% of all jobs are based in agriculture and that number is growing rapidly. Mr. Thurnau said “People need to give FFA a chance. There is no sport or other program that can do for your child, what FFA can do!”
by Brock Oberlink
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