FFA, manufacturing departments to host dinner, auction for community


Erin Sheffield

Junior Jackson Aragon spray gray paint on the frame of a gazebo for sale, which includes two swings and a fire pit.

The FFA and manufacturing departments will host a showcase and auction today, May 21 at 7 p.m. in the shop of the ag building. The first 500 visitors can enjoy a free hamburger meal starting at 6 p.m.

The event will include silent and live auctions of goods ranging from college-themed attire to a student-made gazebo including swings and a fire pit. Visitors can also bid on three student groups to work for a day. FFA and manufacturing students will also be recognized for their achievements over the past year.

“It’s the first time we’ve done this community event,” agricultural sciences teacher Jeff Klose said. “We’ve invited the whole community to come in for a meal to hang out and see what we do. We’ve spent a lot of time building this program, and now we feel like it’s time to build a community presence.”

Money raised at the event will fund various student trips during the following year, including two before the school year begins.

“It begins right as this year ends,” FFA president Amadeo Loya said. “Our first trip this year will be to our area leadership camp at Clarendon College. Then we’ll go to a state convention, the 91st annual Texas FFA State Convention, so that will be with 15,000 other FFA members. We need money for those hotel rooms and to make sure every student who wants to go has the opportunity to go because it is an incredible experience.”

Profits will also fund the boosters’ scholarships for state-qualifying and state-winning seniors.

“For each time we advance to state, our booster club gives $200 for every event you advance to state in,” Loya said. “If you win a state contest, that is another $300. It’s a way for our booster club to encourage us to do what we do and be great at it, and it’s also a way to get rewarded for that. It’s a way to invest in anyone and everyone who’s willing to partake in Canyon FFA.”

It’s a way to invest in anyone and everyone who’s willing to partake in Canyon FFA.

— Amadeo Loya, 12

Klose said the idea for the auction came from other ag teachers in another school, where their annual event includes nearly 100 items for sale between the silent and live auctions.

“They do an auction just like this, and they’ll raise anywhere from $40,000 to $70,000 a year from this program,” Klose said. “We’re hoping to raise some money for next year, but more than anything, we’re hoping to start a tradition, something that we can do every year where we can feed the community and thank the community for what they do for us.”

Loya said while the group will cook 500 hamburgers, they are unsure how many people will attend.

“We’re cooking 500 hamburgers for the first 500 people, and we’re prepared to handle that many, but we don’t know what to expect at the same time,” Loya said. “We’re going to have to get a feel for it. With the silent auction, we want to have enough that everything gets sold but also not too few so that not everybody can get something. We want everybody to have the opportunity to get something.”

Klose said when he was hired, the goal set by administration was to develop the top ag program in the nation.

“We have worked really hard to do that,” Klose said. “We’re still making steps in that direction. We’ve been very fortunate. The Texas FFA has something called the Golden Horizon Award, which ranks FFA chapters based on everything they do throughout the year and how successful they are in those things. In the seven years I’ve been here, we’ve been ranked in the top three every year, and we’ve been first five out of the seven years. It’s been a really great place to be, and we’ve had a lot of success. Now, we’re working on becoming a national powerhouse as well.”

Now, we’re working on becoming a national powerhouse as well.

— Jeff Klose, teacher

Though Loya plans to major in engineering rather than agricultural science, he said his time in FFA impacted his career decision.

“Speaking from personal experience, the FFA has really done a lot to invest in me, not just to invest in my agricultural career,” Loya said. “It does a lot to build the potential for future leaders. The FFA’s not just about what you eat and what you wear–it is so much more than that. It’s about developing those leaders. It’s been a really great place for me to build my foundation upon, and it’s something I’ve been incredibly thankful for.”

Klose said every ag teacher in the area would say they love the community feel of Canyon.

“We want our community to be able to interact with our students to see what they’re building in these projects and the skills that our students have developed through this program,” Klose said. “It’s really easy with athletics because you can go to a football game or a basketball game and see what those kids do, but very rarely does the community get to see what some of our students in career technology or journalism do. This is a really cool way for the community to see what our students are capable of doing.”

Preview some of the student-made goods for sale tonight in the slideshow below.