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Old May 30th 2009, 05:35 PM   #1
  Mar 2009
  Blairstown, LA
“School’s Out for Summer”

The last regular day of school for Ponchatoula High School this year was Memorial Day. Yep, they held school on this holiday due to having to make up days from last hurricane season. On the following Tuesday which should have been the first day of summer vacation, the newly elected officers of the Ponchatoula High School FFA Chapter, attended their first meeting as an officer team. The youths and their advisors Alice Dubois and Donna Jean Heinrich, traveled to Natchez, MS for a three day event known as “Officer Retreat”.

This assembly is a work session by which the new officers learn each others skills, strengths, weaknesses, mannerisms and personalities as well as learn how to become effective leaders in the FFA. This knowledge, incorporated with the guidance they receive from their advisors, makes the officer team click like a well-oiled machine. This is no picnic for these youths. They are forced to gel as an effective team to lead the PHS FFA into 2010. This is a responsibility the advisors and youths do not take lightly and much effort is put into this assembly to produce the type of officers and leaders FFA expects.

I am very fortunate to be married to Donna Jean and through her, get an inside view of how the personal dynamics of the team are managed as well as how the direction of the chapter is planned and affected by the efforts these youths make.

The retreat was very special this year as it was held at PineLog Plantation Ranch. PineLog is owned by Ronnie and Debbie Hebert (SGRA Lifetime members from Plaquemine, La.). Ronnie and Debbie’s generosity and hospitality are second to none. PineLog is a five-star accommodation game ranch nestled in the rolling hills and bluffs near Natchez. Not only are the grounds incredible, PineLog is a premier game ranch with eighteen species of deer and exotics.

In addition to the FFA related instruction courses and activities, Debbie Hebert held a dinner party for the youths to teach them about etiquette and manners associated with dining and entertaining. Debbie was a huge hit with the youths and did a wonderful job All of the youths were impressed with her outgoing personality and her personal knowledge. Debbie took the time to prepare the dinner, set up the eating hall and be a most gracious and informative hostess. The youths learned much from Debbie and all of them have asked me to thank her many times over. Thanks Debbie!!! PHS-FFA LOVES YOU!!!

Holding the meeting at PineLog was the highlight of these youths lives. They have asked me to thank Ronnie for allowing them unrestricted use of the facility and in their words “Mr. Ronnie is the BOMB”! Thank You Ronnie.

As I looked over the Ponchatoula High School FFA schedule this afternoon I realized there are only 19 days (including weekends) on the calendar during the entire summer that are not planned with FFA related activities. Who said “school’s out for summer”?

These youths are dedicated and excited about being the best they can be and the FFA is an integral part of their success.

Next week is the Louisiana State FFA Convention, held in Monroe Louisiana. FFA Chapters from all over the state will come together and fellowship. During the Convention, recognition of Chapter and individual achievements during 2009 will be awarded. PHS – FFA has been awarded the best chapter in the state for the last 6 years in a row. They are hoping to make it seven next week.

SGRA has supported the FFA for the last two years and has enjoyed getting state and national exposure of agricultural professionals and youths interested in the game ranch industry. We see this as an investment in the future of our industry.

I urge you to become involved with an FFA Chapter in your area.

P.S. I will let you know if PHS wins the best chapter in the state next week.
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Old Jun 8th 2009, 05:21 PM   #2
  Mar 2009
  Blairstown, LA
Well........The PHS-FFA went to the Louisiana FFA State Convention and they were awarded the National Chapter Award, #1 Chapter in the State in the catagory of Agriculture Literacy and #1 Chapter in the State for Chapter Development. In addition the students secured 22 1st place proficiency awards, and quite a few 2nd and 3rd place awards. For the past 2 years, the SGRA has sponsored the proficiency award for Wildlife Management and Production. The sponsorship money is used to purchase the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place banners in this catagory and the rest of the money is given directly to the students that earn one of the 3 banners. The FFA does not retain any of the funding from these donations, so the money goes to the kids that earned it. Now it's on to National Convention in October. Hopefully, PHS can once again be awarded the number one chapter in the country. Oh did I mention that this was PHS's 7th year in a row to be named the #1 Chapter in the State? I also failed to mention that Ms. Tess Morse of the PHS Chapter was elected as the Louisiana State FFA President. For those of you who attended our banquet, you will remember Tess as the young lady that gave the great speech about gameranching. Congratulations Tess and PHS!
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“school’s, summer”

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