At the RCHS vocational building, leaders are not the only thing being made, but entrepreneurs are as well. A part of the National FFA Program is students serving their community and themselves by taking part in agricultural experiences.
However, you won’t see these kids just slopping the hogs; they are taking records and keeping track of feed expenses, income, and labor. This program is called Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE). Each FFA member must obtain so many hours work or profit made to earn certain degrees through their SAE program. These degrees lead all the way up to the American Degree, which less than one percent of FFA members receive.
Having an SAE teaches students how to manage their own small business. These small businesses turn into a lifestyle more often than a person would think. An example of this work comes from a junior at RCHS and the current Vice-President of the FFA chapter, Keaton Mueller. Mueller’s SAE is turf grass management, which he began when he was six, mowing yards and landscaping.
“I wouldn’t consider my SAE very successful in terms of awards, but instead in experiences.”
Quote by Mueller explains how rewarding it can be to put some money in his pocket and learn valuable lifestyle practices along the way. Mueller says his main influence for his success in his SAE and the FFA program is the senior class. He says that as an underclassman he looked up to the senior class and saw their successful SAE’s as a monumental step in being active in the chapter. Having an SAE is all about building career and entrepreneurial experiences, as well as communication skills.
Last year at the District IX contest at Tri High, Rushville was in the top three in ten SAE proficiencies. First place winners move onto the state level where they are judged into groups of bronze, silver, and gold. The students that receive the gold are considered the top four in the state in their area. Three students took home first place as winners of their division. These three students were: Caroline Kuhn in Sheep Production and Agricultural Education, Briley Loggan in Dairy Production, and Jill Yager in Wildlife Production. Winning first place is a very prestigious award, because the student knows that their hard work and good record keeping paid off.