New Ulm FFA Packs a Full Week of Activities into 4 Days
A Break Down of New Ulm FFA Week
February 25, 2020
The National FFA Organization has had a busy week! The New Ulm FFA Chapter hosted the annual National FFA Week Feb. 18-21. The week had a few significant events that are a tradition at New Ulm High School. Tuesday kicked off the week with the annual FFA Emblem Hunt, Wednesday was the ever-popular Pancake Breakfast, Thursday hosted the Ag Olympics, and Friday was Peanut Day and the Staff Pie Social. The New Ulm FFA Members had a lot of work to do to get ready for this week, and it paid off!
Chapter Advisor Jeff Nelson gave an insight into what the heart of FFA Week is all about. “Every ag department or FFA Chapter is celebrating in some way, shape, or form the National FFA Week intention, and I think that is pretty unique when you bring that many people together to celebrate some type of an organization that betters the lives of students. I think that is the number one kind of the coolest part [about FFA Week].” FFA Week is a way to unite FFA Members and Ag students all across the nation, and celebrate an organization that helps better the lives of students as a premier leadership organization. New Ulm FFA brings students together with a bit of friendly competition to start the week off, though.
New Ulm FFA Week starts with the FFA Emblem Hunt. 5 FFA Chapter Degree Emblems are hidden throughout the school and the lucky people who find them get prizes! Nelson gave hints as to where to find the hidden emblems. “They are in common places, not bathrooms, not classrooms, not the band hallway, not the phy ed hallway. They are in common places, but because they are the size of a dime, they are hard to find.” The emblems are truly the size of a dime, if not smaller, and as of Friday, Feb. 21, only three FFA Emblems have been found. The prizes for spotting the emblems have evolved over the years, according to Nelson. “We used to give away cash prizes, but [new regulations for organizations mean] we can’t give away cash prizes, so the people who find the emblems will get a choice of FFA swag gear as a reward for finding the emblems.” The Emblem Hunt goes all through FFA Week and until all of the emblems are found!
6:30 a.m. is early for anyone, but New Ulm FFA Members and the New Ulm Hub Club are up way earlier than that to get the annual FFA/Farm City Hub Club Pancake Breakfast! The breakfast is a free-will donation that goes to the Farm City Hub Club and goes way further back than Nelson can remember “as a way to celebrate FFA and agriculture.” It has been a standing tradition though, the Wednesday of FFA Week is always the pancake breakfast, and it is a city-wide favorite. People from all over New Ulm and the surrounding area come to the New Ulm High School commons to get a taste of the fresh-cooked pancakes made by members of the New Ulm Hub Club. The New Ulm FFA Members help clean, fill drinks, serve applesauce, and help mix the secret pancake batter. The breakfast goes into the first hour for students, so even students get in on the action for pancakes. There is also a giant pancake or two made for the challenge of eating the biggest pancake. The breakfast, according to Nelson, serves around “the four to five hundred [people] mark,” so a lot of people come to eat pancakes at New Ulm High School. That is not the end of FFA Week yet, though.
Thursday is the second biggest battle in the school; it is only topped by Battle of the Classes, it is the largest competition in the ag classroom, the Ag Olympics! The 2020 Ag Olympics was held in the third gym at New Ulm High School; and was compromised of Lassoing a “steer,” moving Reece’s Puffs with chopsticks, Milking a Cow, herding “sheep,” an FFA Emblem matching game, a corn haul race, driving nails, a human wheelbarrow challenge, and a frozen nut and bolt hunt. All of these events take a while to complete, but one team did the entire Ag Olympics in only six minutes and 44 seconds! Two teams did it in that time, but the winner is still up for debate, and New Ulm High School may never know the real winner of the 2020 Ag Olympics.
The final day of New Ulm FFA Week is a long-standing tradition for FFA Members. Friday or the last day of FFA Week is Peanut Day! Nelson described the history of Peanut Day as “It used to be two chapters from different states, ours was a chapter in Georgia, and we learned about the agriculture from their area. We even used to send our FFA Members to Georgia to get a first-hand look, and they would send members up here. We don’t send members to Georgia anymore, but we still learn about the peanuts, because it is always good to learn about somewhere you aren’t very familiar with.” Ag students at New Ulm High School learn about where the most peanuts are produced, shipped to, and what peanuts are most often used in (there is way more uses for peanuts than peanut butter). There is also a competition for finding the biggest peanut. To have the biggest peanut, the peanut has to be completely deshelled, with no skin, and in one piece. Luke Stephinsmier with a peanut that weighed 1.9 grams! That is a huge peanut.
Ag students also get to eat peanuts all during class on Peanut Day. Friday is also a special day for the New Ulm High School Staff. Lunch on Friday means a pie social for the staff. The New Ulm FFA Chapter buys pie and ice cream for the staff to enjoy during lunch. The pie social is a way for the FFA Chapter to say ‘thank you’ to the staff for all of the hard work they do for the students at New Ulm High School. Nelson told about the pie social form this year, “attendance was down this year. People had a lot of work to catch up on from the snow days, so pie wasn’t the number one thing on their list, but we are still happy to do a little something for the staff every year, even if it is just pie.”
FFA Week is a big event at New Ulm High School, and it never fails to show us the unity across the nation with FFA Members all over the country. 2020 FFA Week was a great week, and it was still filled to the max, even with only having four days for the week. Next year should be just as big of an event, even with the advantage of having an extra day!