FFA Teacher has "Bragging Rights" in Elba


Imagine a school where agriculture involves more kids than sports, where field trips are literally trips to area farm fields. That's the case in Elba, where nearly every student is involved in FFA.

The school recognizes the value of hands–on education, especially when it comes to the state's most important industry.

Ag teacher Gene Wray said, "Just looking around our community, it's definitely an agricultural community and we're very fortunate our school administration, our school board is very much agriculture–based, and they realize how important the FFA program and agriculture education is to the school."

On this day, kids are learning about sorghum. Amanda Dvoracek's dad farms here, and grows the gluten–free crop.

"They make good cookies," she said.

The kids learned all about it, by putting in some hard work.

Chris Lewis said, "We helped get all the rogue corn out of it and the super tall, make the fields look nice for today."

FFA these days focuses on science and math, and teacher Gene Wray says there's no classroom better than this.

"This is a great learning laboratory experience," he said.

And of all the activities in the small school, Mr. Wray has the best participation.

He said, "I kind of wanted the bragging rights that every student grade 9–12 was in FFA."

Between the junior high and high school, 35 kids are involved. That includes kids like Amanda whose parents farm, and kids like Chris that don't, but learn why it matters in Nebraska.

Lewis, a senior, said, "I like being in FFA, it's very educational. You get to go out a lot and meet new people and learn about agriculture."

Wray said, "Ag education gives them leadership skills, gives them speaking abilities, gives them abilities to work with prospective employers and hopefully eventually it will lead to a full time job for them."