WHHS FFA leads ‘All-In’ at school

WHHS FFA leads ‘All-In’ at school

Image Credit: Dave Mast

Good poker players know when they have a hand that is worth going “all-in” on. That’s the hand they are willing to stake their future on.

Recently, the West Holmes FFA chapter conducted its “All-In” week, inviting the WHHS student body to find ways they can go “all-in” to build a successful future.

West Holmes High School’s student body took a detour from their regular class schedule Nov. 8-12, led by the West Holmes FFA members.

The FFA helped create a week of learning and growth opportunities. It was an enormous undertaking that involved many community people and the entire school staff, but in the end it proved to be a game plan that was well worth the effort.

Jaime Chenevey, WHHS FFA advisor, said she got the idea from one of her fellow FFA teachers in Northwestern Ohio. That school approached its event on a smaller scale, but Chenevey said she wanted to ramp up the week to create something that would not only give students an opportunity to glean valuable information, but also challenge her FFA students to take the reins and drive the week-long program.

“The kids did a lot of the leg work,” Chenevey said. “One of the things we really wanted to hammer home this week was to create a passion in the kids. The goal was to expose the kids to opportunities in their school and community that can benefit their future.”

Monday was All-in for Your School Day and explored extracurricular school choices. Tuesday was All-in for Your Career Day and saw dozens of area employers discussing job details and opportunities for employment with students. Wednesday was All-in for Your Community Day and had many area representatives from nonprofit organizations describing what they do for the community. On Friday the student body was treated to an assembly featuring motivational speaker Gian Paul Gonzalez, who believes going “all-in” is a lifestyle choice young people need to make to succeed.

“It’s all about personal growth,” Chenevey said. “Our kids have a lot of great opportunities in our community our young people need to be aware of.”

Chenevey said it was good practice for her FFA students in terms of organization, preparation and communication.

The FFA members were each given a list of tasks to complete for the event including reaching out to community members to ask them if they would speak. That included almost five-dozen speakers for Community Day and that many for Career Day. The student body could sign up to attend the discussion of whichever speaker they felt would interest them, and all 550 students went to one of the chat sessions.

“It takes a lot of effort and hard work to make this week happen, and the biggest thing is splitting the workload so it makes it easier on all of us,” WHHS FFA President Cora Crilow said. “We split everything up and take the burden off just a few people and spread it out to get everyone involved. It’s nice to see the teamwork that goes into this.”

Crilow said this week teaches the FFA students to build relationships with community members because the FFA members are the ones contacting community members to come and speak.

FFA secretary Chloe Shumaker said the teamwork needed begins months prior to the week itself, and it takes each member to pull it all together because it is like a giant puzzle that isn’t complete until each member does their job.

“We always encourage each other throughout to make sure we are staying on top of things and making our contacts,” Shumaker said.

Once the slate of presenters was set, each found their respective assigned classroom, and students who had signed up ventured in to hear about whatever topic was being presented.

FFA student advisor member Leah Reining said the group recognizes the hard work this takes, but seeing it pay off in the end is very satisfying. Sentinel Becca Schuch said the hope is the students attending will find something to help them in exploring possible future careers and that they would be inspired by what they experienced.

“We hope they found it interesting and it helped them think more about how they can get involved in school and maybe give them some inspiration in exploring a career down the road,” Schuch said. “Even if it’s just a hobby they pick up, the hope is this helped them think about the future.”

Finally, the week is created to help WHHS students gain insight into the role FFA plays in the school and the many facets and roles it plays in building character and teamwork in its members.