Cloister FFA celebrates 50

By on April 20, 2011



Current members of the chapter and their advisor, Sarah Quigg, were thrilled to be recognized by the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and Senate for achieving their golden anniversary. (Photos by Jessica Rose Spangler)

Fifty years seems like a long time to most people, but when you put it all down in pictures, time flys. This is exactly what happened when the Cloister FFA realized last year that their 50th anniversary was just around the corner. The current FFA members approached Tom Bollinger, a chapter alumni, for his assistance. Bollinger took charge, contacting former chapter advisors and other alumni. Together they decided to hold a reunion in conjunction with their annual awards banquet. Chapter History Cloister FFA got its start in 1961 when the Ephrata School District built their new high school (EHS). Thanks to some nudging from a few board members and faculty, the district agreed to build a vocational agriculture room and hire a new teacher. Lewis Ayers was chosen as that teacher. While all of this was occurring, neighboring Cocalico School District decided to end their ag program. But the building of EHS opened a new door for the students that wanted to continue learning about agriculture they became tuition students at Ephrata, a practice that is still going on today. When Cloister FFA was formed, there were 11 charter members under Advisor Ayers. Members included Jerry Snader, Ray Kline, Larry Fetter, Martin Wenrich, Thomas Spitler, William Coldren, Ronald Kline, David Zimmerman, Donald Kauffman, Barry Hirneisen and Kenneth Spade. In 1964, the chapter was doing so well that the district hired a second advisor Charles Ackley. Thanks to the extra hand, the chapter started more programs, such as a Junior Ag Club at the middle school. Some other noteworthy accomplishments of the chapter were their chain animals and creation of a school farm. Chain animals were created so that every FFA member could have their own livestock project. Once an animal had an offspring, that offspring was given to another member, and the chain was continued. More recently, a school farm was built so that these animals would have a place to reside, especially for students who don’t come from a farm. The farm also allows for out-of-the-classroom activities and learning experiences. Today s Chapter Continued growth and success allowed the chapter to have up to four advisors at one time. The latest advisor is Sarah Quigg. The current chapter is comprised of 26 members. Over 250 alumni, current members and their families were present at the reunion and banquet on April 16, at the Ephrata High School. Beginning at 4 p.m., alumni filled the school cafeteria for a social hour. Those in attendance spent time rehashing memories of their school days, perusing photos and scrapbooks, watching photo slide shows and touring the vo-ag room. This is a great time to show our respect for the advisors. They ve impacted so many people and deserve to know our appreciation, said Bollinger. When asked what has changed over the years, Bollinger couldn’t help but think of his trip to a National FFA Convention in 1970. Then Advisor Charles Ackley took the five students who made up the chapter s state winning parliamentary procedure team to the convention in his 1966 Chevy Impala. It was a tight trip, but it was fun, Bollinger said. The evening wasn’t only to remember the past, but to celebrate the present. Those in attendance got the chance to see the current members win awards and recognition for their accomplishments. Members are encouraged to participate in various events, public speaking contests, keep record books on their projects, and more. Once certain milestones have been reached, members become eligible for certain awards. Awards that were handed out included: Creed Speaking Proficiency: Jessica Hochreiter. Greenhand Degrees: Jessica Hochreiter; Christopher Stephens, Mark Zimmerman; Katie Cline, and Zoe Homan. Star Greenhand: Jessica Hochreiter. Chapter Degree: Erin Beever, Kirsten Kauffman and Trent Lehman. Chapter Star in Ag Placement: Kirsten Kauffman. Chapter Star in Ag Entrepreneurship: Erin Beever. Dairy Production Proficiency: Terri Kauffman. Ag Sales Proficiency: Megan Ackley. Equine Entrepreneurship Proficiency: Erin Beever. Ag Services Proficiency: Amanda Bowers. Ag Communications Proficiency: Kirsten Kauffman. Leadership Award: Emily Good, Erin Beever and Kirsten Kauffman. Scholarship Award: Kirsten Kauffman, Jessica Hochreiter and Megan Ackley. Dekalb Award: Terri Kauffman. Red Rose Recipient: Amanda Bowers. Keystone Degree (the highest degree in PA): Terri Kauffman, Megan Ackley and Emily Good. American Degree (the highest degree in the nation): Billy Saylor, Barry Saylor, Stephanie Kauffman and Joshua Ackley. It is important to note that the success of the chapter would not be so prominent without the aid of their Booster Club. They have contributed over $7,000 to the Cloister FFA in the past year, including $100 to each of the American Degree recipients for their travel expenses to the National FFA Convention last October. More FFA, page A6

About Ephrata Review