The Rocket Flame

Awards for the Keystone Kids

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2020 started off right with the Pennsylvania Farm Show.  At the beginning of every year, people file into the Farm Show Complex to see all the attractions and events. Pennsylvania is proud to host the largest indoor agricultural exposition under one roof in the nation, but for certain students of the Conococheague FFA Chapter it is a great day of celebration.

 Members of the Conococheague FFA Chapter are able to get rewards to help their journeys in later agriculture paths. Two of the rewards you can get at the Farm Show are the Keystone Degrees and new members can get their FFA Jackets.

“It felt a lot like graduation,” said Faith Mitchell (12). “ We had to walk across the stage to get our awards.”

Eight members of the chapter earned awards, four receiving their Keystone Degrees and four got their jackets. The Keystone Degrees is the highest degree that can be bestowed on an FFA member at the state-level. The four recipients of the degree were Adrianna Durboraw (12), Rachel Martin (12), Faith Mitchell (12), and Colby Shingler (12). The first-year jacket recipients were Chloe Cook (9), Kristin Oberholtzer (9), Zane Ocker (10), and Connor Stine (9). 

“My initial reaction was excitement to getting my jacket,” said Zane Ocker (10).

When achieving these awards, a lot of work goes into them. The Keystone Degree recipient, must have demonstrated leadership abilities, as well as  earning or productively investing at least $1,000 or working at least 300 hours in a supervised agricultural experience program. When getting the FFA jackets, students  have to fill out an application on why they should get their jacket and how they are going to use it in their FFA journey. The significance of all of these awards are pushing students forward in your journey to success and never stop trying to get what you want. 

Ag Olympics Get Students and Faculty MOOving

From blue and gold day to kissing cows, the FFA had a very eventful week. As the week went on with different dress up days they all led to the big event that everyone looked forward to: The Ag Olympics. This photo gallery gives and inside look of what happens when cows and hay bales are involved. Students and faculty participate in various events to test their strength and determination to beat the other teams. This (sometimes) friendly event gets the student body on their toes to see which teacher raised the most money and will kiss the cow and who will win the Ag Olympics.

Ready? Set? Race!

Who Will Cross the Finish Line First?

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Sydney Jones

The teams race from the start line to see who will win the first event.

Ready? Set? Go!  Yells Ella Heckman (10) and the teams race off to tackle their first event.  The intensity increases as one teammate after the other races against the other teams to get a point on the board.  Ag Olympics hosted by the Ag department is a favorite for many students each year.  FFA Weeks builds the excitement for the finale on Friday for only one week out of the entire school year.

During FFA Week there are spirit days that lead up to the Olympics.  This year the spirit days consisted of: Camo Day, America Day, Farmer Day, Farm Animal Day, and Blue and Gold Day.  Each day had different criteria based off the theme.  Camo Day you were encouraged to wear any and all camo that you owed.  For America Day wearing an sort of red, white, or blue was fantastic.  Farmer Day you were to dress like a farmer.  For Farm Animal Day you were encouraged to dress like any farm.  Finally, for Blue and Gold Day you could wear any assortment of blue and gold.

“FFA chapters use National FFA Week to share agriculture with their fellow students as well as their communities,” said Adrianna Durboraw (11).

Living in a rural community makes FFA Week so much more important.  This is a way to keep our community together through something the community is good at, farming, and something that everyone loves, fun.  

“We do Ag Olympics to have fun and get the whole school involved.  Everybody in the school gets to watch as teams participate in activities,” said Adrianna Durboraw, “ FFA week is to inform people about agriculture and FFA knowledge.”

This year there were six teams.The teams were Yearbook: Rachel Kimmel, Kirstyn Black, Macey Keefer, and Megan Rummel; The Dream Team: Shane Coursey, Heath Hissong, Cody Saunders, and David Clopper; The 717: Evan Clopper, Logan Miller, Trysten Hensley, and Caleb Wise; The Thrasher: Delanie Black, Madison Hock, Lacy Nolan, and Shayla Plantz; Brothers From Differ

ent Mothers: Moses Goetz, Logan Weaver, Alex Letterman, and Trey Settings; and finally The Teachers: Ms. Fox, Mrs. Swailes, Mrs. Chambers, and Mrs. Miller.  Anyone from the school can make a team and enter into the Olympics.  There is a limit of four people per team and everyone must participate in almost every activity. This year the games consisted of: Hay Bale Tossing, Corn Shucking, Apple Bobbing, Penny in a Haystack, and a Pie Eating Contest.  Each of these activities helps students that don’t have a farming background appreciate the community they live in and the work that they do.

“Agriculture is our wisest pursuit because it will, in the end, contribute most to real wealth, good morals, and happiness,” said Adrianna Durboraw.

The community we live in is full of new agricultural opportunities.  Being able to bring them to school for students to learn while having fun is a rare opportunity.

Want to Know How to Save a Life?

One donation saves three lives.

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Kirstyn Black

Michael Newman has his arm in the air awaiting the final steps of the blood donation process.

It’s the morning of the first day you donate.  The doors open and a cold draft runs over your body and nerves take over.  As you scan the room you see students and teachers waiting in line to get blood drawn.  Friends lay on the Red Cross tables with arms in the air, while others wait for the process to begin.  Familiar voices fill the air as some have friends with them for support as the volunteers begin.

Possibly the scariest, but most rewarding donation to give.  Your blood.  Needles, tubes, bags, and

iodine in abundance on the stage of the James Buchanan High School on Thursday, Sept. 21 as a Red Cross blood drive was hosted by the JB FFA chapter in the auditorium last week.

The FFA motto seems to stand for many of the students and staff at the high school. “Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve,” said Ella Heckman, 10, FFA Reporter.

The exceptional turnout, yet again this year, has proven the servant-hearted community that surrounds the school.

When asked the question if Ms. Brittany May donated blood she said, “I give blood as often as I can. Thursday was actually my 15th donation!”

Items that are a must have to donate blood.

Each donation saves three lives.  Together the community helped save 69 lives on Thursday during the FFA’s first blood drive of three to be held this year.  The next blood drives will be in the winter and the spring.  

“It is quite rewarding to see students and teachers take time out of their busy schedules to help others in need,” said May.

The blood drive serves more than just one purpose.  There is a scholarship that the relies on the success of the blood drive.

“The scholarship is based on the number of units donated throughout the year,” says May, “We are already about halfway to our goal of units donated this year to reach the first tier of scholarships.”

If there are more than enough units donated for the first scholarship, there could potentially be two.  This scholarship is offered to any senior that is currently active in the Community Service Committee, which is the committee that offers the scholarship.

“FFA is full of amazing opportunities to help people. The blood drive is so easy and rewarding because all it takes is a pint of blood to save somebody’s life!” said Heckman.

The James Buchanan High School FFA chapter prides themselves as being community based and willing to serve.  The annual blood drive is a great way to keep that reputation alive.

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