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FFA Banquet: Mrs. Fleming presented senior members, including Emily Cashman, their gold cords.

Every Vinton-Shellsburg FFA banquet is a celebration of the organization’s long tradition of supporting and advance agriculture and agriculture-related careers in the local district.

But this year’s event held special meaning for Louise Fleming, and the group of seniors Mrs. Fleming has led over the past four years

This is Fleming’s fourth year at VS, and the seniors who graduated are the first to spend all fours years with her. She arrived at VSHS the same time they came in as freshmen, and together the seniors and advisor have seen some significant changes in the VS Ag Dept.

During an often-tearful ceremony, Fleming presented the seniors with their gold cords, as well as “I wore BLUE” t-shirts honoring them as new FFA alumni.

“We work hard, we play hard,” Fleming said, adding that FFA programs aim to make learning fun.

Senior Emily Cashman spoke about the importance of the FFA “family” as she joined the other seniors in a parent appreciation ceremony.

“I have two families to thank tonight,” she said. “My parents and our FFA family. FFA gave me a place in the school to belong.”

After the ceremony, Fleming said there were many memories of her first year, but she mentioned just two of them.

“I was very pregnant,” she recalls, adding that two weeks after school started, her daughter was born and she had to take maternity leave.

The second memory Fleming mentioned from her early days came after the work had begun on the aquascience project, which includes fish farming and hydroponic crop growing.

“Austin Peters said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool if we could add a chicken coop outside; then we’d be the greatest chapter,’” Fleming recalls.

This year, she had the joy of announcing to her students that the FFA was able to build The Barn, which will allow the opportunity for FFA members to bring livestock to school and add even more learning opportunities.

The retiring officers – most of whom are seniors – stood together for one final group photo before the chapter announced its new leaders.

Retiring officers include: President Caleb Svoboda, V.P. Jacob Patrilla, Secretary Karley Kenney, Treasurer Riley Ries, Reporters Emily Cashman and Deion Dullin, Sentinel Dillon Brummer and Officer-At-Large Timothy Haerther.

New officers include: President Riley Ries, V.P. John Eden, Secretary Emily Reisch, Treasurer Sydney Walker, Reporters Jessica Alderson and Katie Isbell, Sentinel Drew Wiley and Officer-At-Large Steven Henry.

See more photos HERE.

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