PITTSBURG – National FFA Week, which begins Feb. 16 and continues through Feb. 23, was first designated a national week more than 70 years ago. In Girard, where a third or more of local high school students are involved with FFA (which stood for Future Farmers of America for 60 years before changing to the National FFA Organization in 1988) the tradition goes back almost as far.

A full schedule of activities is planned for FFA week in Girard, starting at 8 a.m. Saturday with a Friends of the FFA Breakfast and legislative forum with area lawmakers, according to Joe Curran, agricultural education instructor at Girard High School. This will be followed by a Crawford County Farm Bureau FFA Conservation District banquet at the GHS cafeteria at 5:30 p.m.

On Sunday, FFA members are invited to attend church together at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Girard. Monday is President’s Day, and, while there will be no school that day, it will be an FFA leadership day for FFA students as part of the ongoing National FFA Week. Tuesday, Feb. 19 is “Drive Your Tractor to School Day.”

“It will probably be cold,” Curran said. “Nobody will probably do it, but when we’ve done it in the past we’ve had as many as 20 tractors out here.”

A Teacher Appreciation Breakfast will take place Wednesday, Feb. 20, followed by “Green Hand Day” on Thursday, when first-year FFA members will get their hands dyed green. There will be “Agricultural Olympics” that the whole school participates in.

Friday, Feb. 22 is designated as a day to wear official FFA dress or an FFA T-shirt to school and lunch will be served, which is usually pizza, Curran said.

National FFA Week will wrap up in Girard with a community service day on Saturday, Feb. 23, during which FFA members typically give back to the community by cleaning up around town.

“Kansas FFA members are a dynamic group and because of the educational opportunities and experiences that they’ve gained through agriculture education classes we know that our members will provide leadership in their local communities and in our great state and across this country for decades to come,” said Max Harman, state FFA president from the Inman FFA chapter, according to a Kansas FFA Association press release. “Agriculture is the largest economic driver in our state and we are excited to be a part of this dynamic and diverse industry.”

Curran similarly pointed out the value of the FFA program and of highlighting the importance of what it does during National FFA Week.

“It’s a career and technical education program that gets a lot of students started on their careers,” he said.