PONTIAC – It may have been snowing outside of Pontiac Township High School Saturday afternoon, but it was bustling inside during the 11th annual FFA auction fundraiser.
The event included a silent auction, pork chop and ribeye dinner and live auction, with all of the proceeds benefiting the FFA chapter and alumni.
PTHS FFA alumni president Brad Follmer was among those doing a few last minute preparations in the commons area before the fundraiser began.
“Basically, we provide assistance and support throughout all of the different activities during the year,” he said. “Everything that the chapter does and is involved with throughout the year, this goes toward funding that.”
Follmer considers the auction the “Super Bowl” of fundraisers. FFA members enjoy conventions and chapter exchanges to other states thanks to the funds raised at this event. Meanwhile, alumni member Evan Rich is glad to see the FFA is still doing well after being built up over the past decade. Rich is currently a district sales manager for Stone Seed in Iroquois County.
“It’s a blessing to be close enough where I can still come back and help and be involved with FFA chapters over there for work,” Rich said.
FFA officer Amanda Fox said the planning didn’t happen overnight – as it took quite a bit of time to get auction items and invite donors to meetings.
“We have good support throughout our community to help us get the things we need to get this auction running,” explained Fox.
The PTHS chapter will be among the many from throughout the country celebrating National FFA Week. An “ag extravaganza” is planned for spring with various outdoor activities for children.
“I bring my cattle and there are people that bring sheep and goats. We have some tractors also,” Fox added.
PTHS FFA member Sydney Schneeman was selling FFA hats, t-shirts and water bottles in the commons area prior to the auction. Schneeman is actively involved as she has been on a number of trips including the National FFA Convention and a chapter exchange to Georgia.
“We got to meet a lot of new people and learn new stuff,” said Schneeman.
Schneeman hopes to become an FFA officer one day.
“The officers look like they enjoy it.”
Saturday’s auction items included the use of a tractor, seed vouchers, 80 acres of soil testing, road rock, gift cards and meat processing.
The PTHS chapter was among the top three in the state this year and in the top 10 for the Building Communities Award Program. Four members attended a leadership conference in Washington D.C. and the group hosted the second “Indian Summit” for seventh and eighth grade future Pontiac Indians. The chapter also added a Tower Garden program this year to produce vegetables which have been served in the school cafeteria.