FFA chapter draws from all over

Program at Fruita Monument is more than 'plows and cows’

FRUITA MONUMENT HIGH SCHOOL Future Farmers of America member Jessica Ferro works on a bar stool that she will be selling at the FFA’s Cowboy Christmas sale Friday at the school.

Jessica Ferro has no problems with her school day starting before the sun comes up.

Although she lives in Clifton, Ferro attends Fruita Monument High School because it is the only high school in School District 51 that offers a Future Farmers of America program.

Ferro leaves her home at 6 a.m. each day to go to school, but she has no regrets about her daily commute. She wanted to be involved in FFA and Fruita Monument’s equine classes.

Fruita was the only place in the Grand Valley where that was possible.

“There was never a question that I would come here,” Ferro said.

This year is easier because Ferro, a senior, drives herself. During the previous three years of high school, Ferro’s mother dropped her daughter off in Fruita before driving back to work in Clifton.

Ferro said her school day starts at 6 a.m. and ends at 9 p.m. on days when she’s busy with FFA.

On Wednesday, Ferro was busy with FFA.

She and more than a dozen other FFA members were working on handcrafted gifts to sell at their third annual Cowboy Christmas sale from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday in the Fruita Monument ag building.

Ferro and Dewey Johnston are making a set of bar stools by hand.

Other FFA members are making myriad things involving welding, drilling, sanding and other craftsmanship skills.

The projects, including several doghouses, are being built from scratch in the high school shop.

FFA advisor Ryan Hudson, a 1994 Fruita Monument graduate and former FFA member, said he doesn’t know where he would be without FFA and is thrilled that nearly 70 students will be members of FFA by year’s end.

“The stigma is it’s cows and plows,” Hudson said of FFA.

Although there is an agriculture component to FFA, the teens in the program don’t necessarily know how to drive tractors or milk a cow.

“It’s a leadership-driven program,” Hudson added, noting FFA students learn about interviewing, public speaking and growing plants in greenhouses, among many other skills.

The money raised from the sale of their handmade items — such as blankets, candle holders, lamps and toys — will be used to help fund FFA trips. The students also will receive a portion of the Cowboy Christmas sale items. The items range in cost from several dollars to nearly $50, depending on the size and time invested in the project.


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