WAVERLY – Waverly FFA is celebrating a milestone this year and the chapter’s alumni are holding an open house this weekend in recognition.
The FFA Alumni 90th Anniversary Celebration is Sunday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Alumni and community members are invited to attend. Waverly FFA Alumni Reporter/Historian Paula Peterson said there will be ice cream and cookies, as well as history books on display and plenty of conversation.
Noting the chapter’s 90th anniversary is fairly significant, especially since it was one of the first to get its charter in the state.
The Nebraska FFA Association was the sixth state chartered by the National FFA Organization in 1928. Waverly FFA was chartered on Dec. 3, 1926.
Peterson said Waverly was about the fifth or sixth school to gets its charter in Nebraska. Eagle FFA, which merged with Waverly in the 1960s, was the second charter in the state.
Currently, the state has over 9,000 FFA members in 189 chapters. The Waverly FFA has about 45 members.
Waverly FFA alumni are strong in numbers and continued support for the program as well.
“The public speaking and leadership skills you get are so versatile and they stay with you for a lifetime,” Peterson said. “You are in FFA for four years in high school, but FFA is a part of you for the rest of your life.”
She said there are many people who credit FFA for setting them on a path to successful careers. Peterson’s husband and children have been a part of that culture and she said she is happy to promote the history of the chapter.
Sharing that history hasn’t been easy, however. Many of the chapter’s history and record books were destroyed. Prior to the 85th anniversary celebration, Peterson discovered this and began working to restore as much of the history files as she could.
Working with multiple generations of FFA members, she has been able to compile information from 1940s through 2010.
“It’s been neat to see how FFA has influenced people’s lives,” she said.
It’s sad the original books are gone, she said. But in some ways, the newly compiled history books that will be on display Sunday have more detail than the original ones that no longer exist. These have personal information and pictures that have been provided these past few years.
Peterson said she had the help of many people who went “over and above” to re-create the chapter’s history records.
She is still looking for more history too. There are not a lot of records for the Eagle FFA. Peterson said she would be happy to talk with anyone who could share some of that chapter’s history.
She is hopeful that FFA history in general, along with the merits of being an FFA alumni, will be part of the conversation during Sunday’s open house. She said he knows it is hard time with farmer’s trying to get into the fields.
“But, just stop by for ice cream and a cookie,” she said.
The open house will be in the commons area at the Waverly High School.
Members of FFA, originally Future Farmers of America, are enrolled in agricultural education courses, conduct a Supervised Agricultural Experience Program and can participate in a variety of FFA competitions and activities.
Similar to a booster club, there are 30 active FFA Alumni chapters in Nebraska that provide assistance and support to chapters, advisors, and members of the FFA.