Pride and achievement were on display March 17 for the annual Paris High School FFA banquet at Lake Ridge Christian Church.
“I’m very proud to say that I’m the product of a farm,” said keynote speaker Angie Propst, family and consumer science teacher at the high school.
Propst said it was an honor when the students asked her to speak, noting during her high school days FFA membership was limited to boys but she always admired the blue corduroy jackets her uncles and other boys wore.
Her connection with FFA started after moving to Paris as a teacher, working with FFA students in many ways but especially judging public speaking events. She is retiring at the end of the school year and preparing to move back to her home place on the Dolson Prairie in Clark County. It is a site filled with memories and life lessons.
“When I go to my farm today I can see the labor of my ancestors. The barn, summer kitchen and smoke house are still there,” said Propst, adding the ropes her great-grandfather used for lifting hay into the barn remain in place, making for a multigenerational connection.
She emphasized participation in FFA with its focus on hard work and detailed record keeping provides those students with a head start for advancing in life. She offered an example of hard work through her mother, a college graduate, raising 200 chickens, hand washing each egg and using sandpaper to polish the shells in order to receive a higher price for the eggs.
“Any job on a farm is not demeaning if it needs to be done,” Propst said, adding a valuable lesson imparted by her mother, “If you don’t have the money for something, you don’t need it.”
She told the students working hard and conducting business honestly is the formula for success.
“You have to have help from others to succeed, and you have to give help when it is needed,” she said. “I’m not sure what my future life will be, but agriculture will be part of it.”
Phil Ludington and Joe Englum were announced as honorary chapter degree recipients for their support of the FFA program, and Ball Transportation was named the Blue and Gold Award winner.
Other honors announced included: Section 18 proficiency winners Emma Moreschi, Tucker Marrs and Alivia Cline; state degrees, Moreschi and Patrick Watson; pride and leadership award, Faith Fox; FFA service award, Cline; special award from teacher Jenna Knott to Andrew Volstorf; special award from teacher Krista Howard to Watson; and FFA Alumni Scholarship recipients, Fox and Watson.
The program concluded by introducing the officer team for 2017-2018: co-presidents, Tucker Marrs and Emma Moreschi; vice president, Alivia Cline; secretary, Montana Boatman; treasurer, Dawson Watson; reporter, Mackenzie Burgin; sentinel, Denver Wilson; farm manager, Gunner McCarty; chaplain, Alexander Stewart; and junior historian, Samantha Whitaker.