If you go ...
What: FFA auction
When: 6:30 p.m. Friday
Where: Agriculture shop at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane
• The event is open to anyone
Amid the buzz of angle grinders and the blinding blue light of acetylene torches Friday, the annual Moffat County High School FFA Auction was taking shape.
MCHS students, dressed in heavy protective clothing, hustled around the dimly lit agriculture shop fabricating sales inventory in a last-minute frenzy.
MCHS junior Joseph Romero touched a grinder to a black metal pole and sent bright orange sparks flying. He was building a log rack — a decorative and heavy-duty rack on which to store firewood.
The log rack, along with a bevy of other student-made products, will be up for grabs beginning at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the shop, 900 Finley Lane.
FFA advisor Rick Murr said the money raised from the sale will benefit the educational program.
“We use that (money) to help fund trips, travel and entries for all of our FFA kids,” Murr said. “And, some of that money goes toward our program.
“With budget crunches, unfortunately, some of that money helps to buy equipment and stuff like that.”
FFA was founded in in 1928 in the U.S., Murr said.
“It’s the original school-to-work program,” he said.
At its inception, the organization was known as the Future Farmers of America, but the scope of instruction eventually evolved beyond agriculture, and the name was shortened to FFA.
“Now it encompasses everything from horticulture to ag mechanics to welding — all those areas that we call career pathways,” Murr said. “Those kids are going out and getting jobs, doing what they’re learning in our program.”
Murr describes the program as “intra-curricular,” but sometimes FFA students participate in events that resemble extracurricular activities. Those events are called Career Development Events, or CDEs.
“They’re real-life events that those kids are competing in,” he said. “For example, we have an ag mechanics team. Those kids are trained and they compete in welding, problem solving and written tests.”
Other CDEs include surveying, calculating the amount of building materials for a particular project, horse evaluation, meat carcass evaluation and more.
In meat carcass evaluation, the FFA program at MCHS has won the state reserve champion slot seven times, including this year.
“It’s about as hands-on as you can get, in a competition that’s about as real-world as you can get,” Murr said of the event.
Hands-on experience is also a big part of the annual auction at MCHS, Murr said. Students grow plants and flowers, and fabricate a broad range of items including benches, tables, lawn sprinklers, saw horses and more.
Murr said there isn’t a specific fundraising goal in mind for this year’s auction.
“Obviously, we want to make as much as possible,” he said. “In years when the economy is down, we don’t make as much. And, we understand that.”
In an effort to improve profit margins this year, Murr said many of the items were built with scrap material. But, that doesn’t mean the products are scrappy.
“Even if it’s scrap material, we’re trying to build something that’s quality,” he said. “We’re turning nothing into something, basically.”
Murr cited a student-built coffee table with a tiled top.
“The tile on that? We went down to TLC (Carpet One), and they were going to throw that tile away,” he said. “We’ll turn around and use it on that coffee table, then sell it and somebody will get the benefit of it.
“We don’t really have any expense into it other than some consumable supplies like wire or grinding discs. But, if I’m using those supplies anyway for instruction, why not try to utilize some of that to make a profit for our program?”
Romero said he wasn’t exactly sure how much time he spent building his log rack.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Probably like a month or so.”
Nonetheless, after so many hours of work on the project, Romero said he will have no qualms in parting with it so soon after completion.
“I feel pretty good about it,” he said. “I’m pretty sure someone is going to use it.”
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