The Storrs Regional FFA in Connecticut was established in 1963 and has been helping their community ever since. Whenever students sign up for FFA, they often don’t realize the impact it will have in their lives and in their community. Through hard work and dedication, these FFA members are creating a better future.
Community service stretches far beyond our neighbors, sometimes it crosses time zones to comfort others. The Storrs Regional FFA participates in writing holiday letters to our military members. Every year for the past seven years the members have taken a day to show their appreciation towards those who sacrifice everything for our freedom.
One of the FFA advisors, Matt Agnello said, “Despite all the things that can be so polarizing today, getting together to write letters to those who won’t be around for the holiday is something everyone is more than happy to do.”
During their holiday letter campaign, which they schedule in October, the chapter pairs writing the letters with a fun fall project. For example, last year they painted pumpkins after they finished the letters to the soldiers. The members also welcome non-FFA students to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thank the service men and women during the holiday season. Every year for the past seven years, they have between 40 and 60 students participate in the event.
The students also help their local community members. Every year the animal science program raises 20 to 30 broiler chickens. When they are ready, the chickens are processed and donated to local food pantries. In addition to the chickens, the FFA members participate in what they call “Bread and Soup.” The students prepare a dried soup that goes in a jar and only needs water to complete the meal. In addition to the jar of soup, the chapter donates a loaf of cornbread to go with the soup. Over the years, they have donated hundreds of jars of dried soup.
In addition to community service events, the Storrs Regional FFA is also very diverse in the classroom. With 130 FFA members, the five FFA advisors for the chapter, each have their unique emphasis in agriculture, Betsy Terrell — Plant Science, Cindy Chotkowski — Animal Science, Matt Agnello — Turf & Landscape Management, Jim Pomeroy — Ag Mechanics, Andrew Zadora — Natural Resources. The students benefit from their expertise, not only in the classroom, but also in competitions.
As a result of their hard work and dedication, the Storrs Regional FFA has five teams competing at the National FFA Convention & Expo. The members will compete in Horse Evaluation, Marketing Plan, Agricultural Sales, Environmental & Natural Resources, and Forestry. They also had five teams who competed last year as well. In Connecticut, that is the second highest number of winning CDE teams for a chapter.
Although their competition record is impressive, the FFA members are involved in so much more than just competitions. The Storrs Regional FFA has many unique opportunities for their students. For example, if students wish to participate in ag mechanics they also have the opportunity to restore old tractors. At least once a year, Jim Pomeroy with the ag mechanics students pick a tractor to work on and restore. After the process is complete, the chapter sells the tractor as a fundraiser.
In addition, they also have a unique turf program. The Storrs Regional FFA is the only program in Connecticut that maintains everything when it comes to the school grounds. The turf and landscape classes do all the mowing for the school and even all the painting for sports games, including baseball and football. They work every day to maintain the school grounds.
The Storrs Regional FFA is one of a kind. This is the kind of chapter that creates state officers, American degree recipients, and the future of agriculture.