FFA, school paper piling up accomplishments

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Two Albert Lea High School groups &045; the Ahlahasa student newspaper and FFA &045; have shown great success in their regional competitions this year.

The FFA team won first place as a livestock judging team at the National Barrow Show as well as at the contests in Stewartville, Mabel-Canton, the Freeborn County contest, Mower County contest and Sioux Falls.

With 75 members in the group’s 75th year, the team is very proud.

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FFA members Larissa Brune and Krystal Anderson addressed the school board Monday to explain how they’ve been changed by their involvement in FFA. Each, because of their experiences, has decided to pursue a degree in agriculture at the University of Minnesota.

&uot;If it weren’t for the FFA I’d have no clue of what I was doing after high school,&uot; said Anderson.

Brune said the community and school district have been very supportive of their group.

School Board Chairman Ken Petersen complimented the group. &uot;The FFA is one of the most fantastic programs we have,&uot; he said.

Another group that has had great success is Ahlahasa, the Albert Lea High School newspaper.

At the state high school newspaper convention the group took home ten awards in nine different categories. The school also took the award for All-State gold, which is awarded to the paper with the best overall newspaper, and is judged based upon six issues from the previous year.

As an added bonus, they won the award for best in show, a contest among newspapers brought by the different high schools that came to the convention.

Liz Keeling, the advisor for Ahlahasa, said a group of students will be going to the national newspaper convention in Dallas, Texas. The convention will have a national contest as well as meetings for helping students to improve their papers.

Other news:

– A concerned parent, Brian Berning, addressed the board saying that his daughter had come home from school saying her teacher had been pushing the students to encourage their parents to vote &uot;yes, yes&uot; on the district’s referendum.

&uot;It is unfair to the kids to put them in that situation,&uot; said Berning, who has two children who attend Albert Lea schools. &uot;Kids don’t vote. A 10-year-old shouldn’t have to be concerned with whether or not the school referendum passes.&uot;

Superintendent Dave Prescott said he did not know any teachers were doing that, but said he agreed with Berning’s feelings about the pressure it puts on students.

Bill Leland, a school board member, said, &uot;I certainly would hope that these kinds of things aren’t happening.&uot;

– The Albert Lea School District is applying for a 21st-century grant from the state that would help give at-risk students them options for getting through school and finding careers.

The last 21st-century grant the school received was used for school and summer programs for at-risk students, according to district Curriculum Director Judy Knudtson.