Moffat County FFA team raises money selling food, projects and plants

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The Moffat County High School FFA horticulture program has plants and flowers still available for purchase.

For more information, call MCHS at 824-7036.

Mary Penner, a Moffat County High School student, was surrounded by a sea of green Friday at the MCHS agriculture shop.

Rows and shelves of growing plants, still too young to flower and bathed in a glowing light from outside the greenhouse, were hers to cultivate.

As greenhouse managers, Penner and classmates Chelsea Mead and Ashley Summers work at the school every day throughout the year, tending to and nurturing their projects.

“I’ve always had a green thumb,” Penner said. “It’s fun being responsible.”

On Friday, the three girls, along with 25 other FFA team members, said goodbye to many of their school projects at the annual FFA Project Sale.

Team members raised money to support their program in future endeavors.

The new FFA officers, who were installed last month, were responsible for organizing a Rocky Mountain oyster dinner and an auction for more than 50 projects the students had worked on throughout the year.

The greenhouse was open for viewing and all of the plants inside were available for purchase.

Karissa Maneotis, the new FFA chapter president, said the sale was a success.

“I think it went really well,” she said. “The last two years we’ve had really outstanding numbers.”

Craig resident Kenny Kawcak helped the group by working as an auctioneer, and each item he sold spoke resonantly of the hard work the students had put in.

From park benches and wishing wells to welded art and sprinkler systems, the ag shop served as the birthplace of professional-quality, artistic projects.

Agriculture teacher John Haddan said he mostly stays in the background while his students manage their projects and events.

“This is a youth organization,” he said. “It’s their chance to showcase their projects. There’s a lot of good projects and the kids worked really hard.”

Dave Summers, Ashley’s father, volunteered his time to help with the auction. He said he participated in FFA when he was a student at MCHS years ago.

Now, it’s his duty as an alum to support the program.

“This is kind of their big fundraiser to show all the hard work they put into their projects,” he said. “I think they learn a lot of leadership, a lot of skill.”

Ashley agreed the skills she’s learned will help her later in life.

“You’re making friends all the while learning leadership and cooperation,” she said.

While some of the FFA students plan to go on and work in the agriculture field, Penner had a revelation while working with FFA.

She plans to attend college to study forestry and equine sciences, but she hopes to return to MCHS someday and take after her teacher, Haddan.

“FFA taught me about what I wanted to do,” she said. “It brought me out of my comfort zone.”

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