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Mt. Pleasant FFA elects officers, adapts to COVID-19 regulations

Mt. Pleasant FFA president Grace Sheetz (middle right), vice-president Brennen Bender (right), and sentinel Cristina Johnston (left) present a thank you package to Hearth & Home for their donation to the program.
Mt. Pleasant FFA president Grace Sheetz (middle right), vice-president Brennen Bender (right), and sentinel Cristina Johnston (left) present a thank you package to Hearth & Home for their donation to the program.

As coronavirus cases continue to climb throughout the nation many school activities have had to adjust their programing to account for social distancing and other safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

This has included the Mt. Pleasant Community High School FFA or National FFA Organization organization, who announced their new team of officers last Thursday.

Newly elected President Grace Sheetz and Vice President Brennen Bender are excited for the year ahead, and are confident that the club will succeed.

“I am sure it’s going to be hard … There’s going to be some challenges but we’ll figure them out as a group,” Scheetz said.

FFA adviser and agricultural education teacher Matthew Jones has had to adjust how his classes operate. This has included finding a new way of judging livestock.

All future competitions through FFA have been moved to a virtual format. The group will kick off their season with a poultry competition this Saturday. The group will be judged over Zoom allowing everyone involved to compete safely.

To ensure fairness, competitors have to enlist an outside proctor to monitor the competition. According to Jones, this is just a symptom of a year that will be “played by ear.”

“It’s another one of things that this year has been. We’re just kind of building the plane as were flying it,” Jones said.

The ag teacher still is excited for what the year holds, especially after an abrupt and “anti-climactic” end to the FFA last year.

“I am excited to be able to start building and growing on last year. We were geared up to do a lot of cool things last year, and it all ended up getting canceled,” Jones said.

Along with virtual competitions, the group has had to ensure that masks and social distancing are built into their program to keep everyone safe. This has led to some rethinking of certain curricular components and some adjustments to group activities in the FFA.

“I definitely have to be a lot more careful in our group work, and our hand on stuff. What’s more important is trying to stay safe and follow the rules in a global pandemic,” Jones added.

However daunting this year might be to some, FFA President Grace Sheetz is confident they will make it a great year.

“I’m really excited. This year will have it’s challenges but it’s going to be good for all of us,” Scheetz said.

Other newly elected officers include secretary Jack Schimellphenig, treasurer Mitchell Moothart, reporter Courtney Raub, Cristina Johnston, and member at-large Chris Stauffer.