Gettysburg Area High School’s Battlefield FFA students wanted to make an impact beyond Adams County.
FFA members were successful in their worldwide reach, doubling their original $500 goal enabling them to donate two heifers to Heifer International.
The donation will become a resource to teach a family or community about sustainable agricultural practices with the hope of becoming food secure and helping to end poverty, according to FFA students.
“Our focus was battling food insecurity,” said Casey Zirk, a junior who serves as president of Battlefield FFA.
Makayla Keller, a junior who is vice president, said they hoped to make a global impact.
“One of FFA’s main missions, especially through ag, is that we are not just a bunch of farmers. We have all kinds of personalities come together for one mission,” Keller said.
Students raised the funds through social media and placing jars at local businesses for collections during National FFA Week, which was in February.
FFA members were surprised by the outpouring of support from the district and community.
“I didn’t expect that many supporters in the school and in our community that they would donate to our cause,” said Wyatt Sokol, a sophomore who serves as treasurer of the FFA.
The mission of Heifer International goes “beyond our local community and serves a greater purpose,” according to Laura Kennedy, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher.
Heifer International is currently in the fight against hunger in 19 countries, including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, India, Kenya, Malawi, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, the United States and Zambia, according to its website.
Sophomores Maddison Berresford and Kaylea Sanders said they believe the fundraiser helped create more awareness of the FFA’s work. Berresford is the sentinel for the FFA, while Sanders is the reporter.
“We wanted to include more people. It is not just a club. We wanted it to be our community,” Sokol said.
Keller said she believes more students are aware of the FFA’s mission now.
The club has been growing with more students who do not have agricultural backgrounds, she said.
Kennedy agreed with Keller, noting she has seen students from nontraditional agricultural backgrounds who have a passion for the environment, plants, and animals.
“There has been a shift in this generation. They are more conscious of their personal impacts,” Kennedy said.
This was the first time the fundraiser was done with Heifer International under the leadership of Kennedy and Jenna Scott, FFA advisor and agriculture teacher.
There are currently 250 members enrolled in Battlefield FFA with any student in agriculture education classes having the opportunity to participate in the club, according to Kennedy.
Kennedy and Scott were also shocked by the support and expressed an interest in doing the fundraiser again.
“I definitely think it is something we can incorporate in the future,” Kennedy said.
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