FFA alumni

Current members of the West Carter FFA Alumni Chapter who were present at the second meeting Monday, June 3, in Olive Hill. (Photo by Daneyl Tackett).

Past West Carter High School students have started a FFA alumni chapter to help students and the community.

An alumni chapter is not only for those who were involved in high school, but for anyone in seventh grade and above who wants to get involved with the community.

“FFA anymore is not just all ag. It’s more based on leadership,” said Charles Paul, president of the West Carter FFA Alumni Chapter.

Many past students tried to create an alumni chapter in previous years that could not get off the ground, but in their second meeting, they counted around 20 students who had already joined.

“I think everyone here is one of those people who wanted it to start for a long time,” said Shannon Mabry.

While the chapter is still in early stages, members have decided to use a portion of their dues to create a scholarship for one outgoing senior involved in FFA who will likely be chosen in a point system as well as through an interview process.

“We don’t want it to just be a scholarship,” said Mabry. “We want them to earn it.”

In addition to the scholarship, the chapter hopes to one day be able to help students pay for FFA jackets, conventions and camps, to help with volunteer work at events like Thunder and to volunteer at community events unrelated to agriculture.

While members are not required to have participated in FFA in high school, many members are alumni of West Carter who were part of the high school chapter for at least one year.

“You get so used to having that fulfillment of helping the community,” said Mabry. “I don’t think anyone would disagree the impact FFA made on their lives.”

Mabry said she hopes having an FFA alumni chapter will help those who lost that fulfillment again find a place where they can help the community.

Members of the alumni chapter said they would not have come this far without the help of their high school advisors, Will Davis and Paul O’Daniel.

“There’s no better people than Davis and O’Daniel,” said Mabry.

The next chapter meeting will be held Monday, July 1, and a $20 painting class will be held as a fundraiser Monday, June 17, at 6 p.m. at West Carter High School.

For questions about the chapter or how to join, call Charles Paul at 316-7028 or visit their Facebook page.

Daneyl Tackett can be reached at dtackett@journal-times.com or by telephone at 784-4116.