Having grown up on farms, Madelyn Pulliam and Kristen Smith had a natural interest in agriculture that has been cultivated by their involvement in FFA.
Both seniors at Clarinda High School, Pulliam and Smith have been members of the Brokaw FFA Chapter for the past four years. Pulliam currently serves as the chapter president and Smith as chapter secretary.
“When we were in eighth grade we had an introduction to agriculture class. We both lived on farms, so we knew about FFA. But that showed up what more we could do,” Smith said.
Then, as freshmen, Pulliam and Smith participated in an agricultural class and the curbside recycling program the Brokaw FFA Chapter is involved in. As part of the agriculture class students learn about the FFA creed, the history of the organization and the competitions members compete in.
From there, the students have the opportunity to join the Brokaw FFA Chapter. This year there are 65 high school students in the chapter. A Brokaw FFA Middle School Chapter has also been started involving 32 students, which brings the total membership to 97. Andy Johnson serves as the FFA advisor for the chapter.
At the end of her freshman year Pulliam was awarded the Star Greenhand Award honoring her as the most active first-year member of the chapter. Smith, meanwhile, was awarded the Star Chapter Leadership Award as a freshman.
In addition, Pulliam and Smith have each participated in various FFA competitions over their four years of involvement with the chapter. They both competed in Conduct of Meetings as freshman and in Parliamentary Procedure as sophomores.
As a junior, Smith competed in Job Interview. She is now competing in Program of Activities as a senior.
Pulliam was a member of the Agricultural Sales Team for the chapter as a junior. Now, as a senior, she is competing in the individual portion of Agriculture Sales.
Pulliam and Smith will be competing in those categories at the district contest scheduled for March 6.
“Our school is known for its FFA program and we do really well at our contests. We practice two or three times a week and put a lot of heart into the contests. Our advisors also push us to do better,” Pulliam said.
Before being selected as chapter president this year, Pulliam served as the chapter secretary as a junior. She said the experience helped prepare her for leading the chapter as a senior.
“As the secretary I took notes on the new business and old business as well as taking the roll call of who was at the meetings and how long the meetings took. I also had to read the previous minutes, which gave me a step forward in public speaking and how to lead the meeting. It really helped my communication skills and leadership,” Pulliam said.
Prior to being named the secretary, Smith was one of the two reporters for the chapter. Smith was responsible for taking photographs and compiling the scrapbook that showcased the activities the members were involved in. The scrapbook is also used to help recruit middle school students to the chapter.
“I worked on the scrapbook on my own. I wanted to make it perfect and show off what our chapter does,” Smith said. “Our chapter does a lot for the Clarinda. Being able to give back to the community is amazing and community service is something I have grown very passionate about.”
The activities the Brokaw FFA Chapter is involved in are also being celebrated this week as the organization observes National FFA Week. The week opened with the annual Tractorcade around the downtown square in Clarinda on Monday. Members wore official FFA dress to school Tuesday, while an open house was held Wednesday for parents and teachers.
Members were to wear their FFA shirts to school Thursday and were treated to a lunch by the Page County Cattlemen’s Association. The celebration will conclude Friday with a pizza party and dodgeball.
Following graduation, Pulliam said she plans to study agricultural business in college.
“One thing I’m going to take away from FFA is the importance of being a leader, not only in our chapter but in the community. I want to be a good role model to younger kids, show them what FFA is about and encourage them to get involved in the activities,” Pulliam said.
Meanwhile, Smith will be attending South Dakota State University. She will be studying agricultural business and communications.
“FFA has taught me that agriculture is everywhere. It is a big deal and more important than many people think. I think everyone should take an ag class to learn how it affects the community,” Smith said.