FFA is a dynamic youth organization within agriculture education that prepares students for premier leadership, personal growth and career success. The Agriculture Science Program at Pleasanton ISD consist of three integral core components: Classroom/laboratory instruction, supervised agricultural experiences, and student leadership organizations.
Students at Pleasanton have the opportunity to choose between 13 different courses which feed into to three different course pathways; Agriculture Mechanics, Animal Science, and Horticulture. What makes our classes so unique is that the instructors are able to use creative and interactive ways to deliver the content. This teaching method helps students better relate what we are learning to the business industry and real world. Students can then apply these skills to obtain an industry recognized certification which they can utilize immediately after graduation. Last year alone, 227 students in the Pleasanton Ag Department received industry recognized certifications!
Through Supervised Agricultural Experience programs also known as SAE’s, students are doing to learn, and earning to live. Historically this portion was considered animal project based, but today it incorporates so much more. Students can choose from entrepreneurship, career placement, research, exploratory, school based enterprise, or service learning. In this rural area, our animal projects continue to be the most popular. This year our chapter has 152 animals on feed. Many students utilize the money they make on the sale of their animals to help pay for future show projects or college education. We also have students that seek placement opportunities with our local veterinarians and other businesses to gain the knowledge and the networking needed for their future career.
Our chapter has been very successful with our CDE, LDE, and SDE teams. Leadership Development Events better known as LDEs, focus on creating situations for students to demonstrate their abilities in public speaking, decision making, communication and their knowledge of agriculture and the FFA organization. Popular LDEs here at Pleasanton, are Chapter Conducting, Creed Speaking, Quiz, Public Relations, Ag Advocacy, Farm Skills and Radio Broadcasting.
Career Development Events or CDEs build on what is learned in agricultural classes and encourage members to put their knowledge into practice. These events are designed to help a member prepare for a career in agriculture by testing and challenging the student’s technical, leadership, interpersonal and teamwork skills as well as their knowledge of the subject matter. Last year, six of our CDE teams advance to state. The teams included Plant ID, Range, Horse Evaluation, Nursery/Landscape, Floriculture, Farm Business Management, and Agriculture Sales.
Speaking Development Events or CDEs are designed to develop the ability of all FFA members to express themselves on a given subject. Students can select to participate in extemporaneous public speaking, prepared public speaking or soil stewardship. Last year Pleasanton FFA place first in extemporaneous speaking at the district competition.
The last line of the FFA motto, “Living to Serve,” signifies the role as FFA members to help give back to our community. This is accomplished through our many community service projects. One of our biggest service projects is Project Linus. Through this nationally recognized program, we furnish children who are in critical care with handmade blankets. This year our members were able to make and donate 35 blankets. Other community projects such as supply drives and Christmas Caroling are also done throughout the year.
Over the summer students have the opportunity to expand their leadership skills by attending camps and conventions. During convention week, FFA members spent time attending leadership workshops, participating in specialized events and activities, and being recognized for their achievements.
Ten members from our chapter received their Lonestar degrees that week; the Lonestar degree is the highest degree that one can obtain from our state association and is awarded to less than two percent of FFA members. During the business secession the students have the opportunity to serve as the legislative body for the Texas FFA Association. Additionally, more than $2.3 million in scholarships were awarded!