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Perrydale makes national headlines


INDIANAPOLIS -- Perrydale FFA has made history.

 The Perrydale Future Farmers of America has placed in the top 10 among all the chapters in the nation in each of three categories. This marks the first time a chapter has received the highest rating in the categories of chapter development, student development and community development.

 The chapter will compete again in each category for top national honors at the national FFA convention in Louisville, Ky. on Oct. 26-28. "As far as were concerned, the winning has already been done," said Kirk Hutchinson, Perrydale's faculty adviser. "This school only has 100 students and they were competing against schools with much bigger chapters and several advisers." The Perrydale chapter has 80 members.

 After being judged the best chapter in Oregon in March, Perrydale became eligible to submit presentations in three areas. More than 500 chapters were invited to submit presentations but only 100 received the highest ranking.

 In the area of student development, the chapter put together an assembly titled "Drugs, Drinking, Driving, Don't." They also brought in Ron Heagy, a motivational speaker who is a quadriplegic.

 In addition, they set a goal for their members to become more physically fit and participated in the Portland to Coast Run and organized a skiing trip.

 In the chapter development category, the chapter sponsors an annual corn feed, the famed Ag Olympigs and "pass the pig" events. The next corn feed will be held Oct. 29 in the Perrydale gym from 6 to 9 p.m. Participants are fed all the sweet corn they can eat along with apple crisp and applesauce. "Here we're a school of 100 and 80 of those 100 worked on the event," Hutchinson said.

 At the Ag Olympigs, students compete in contests like chugging milk, kissing pigs, cuddling calves, hay stacking and feed sack tossing. The annual event has been featured on ESPN broadcasts, regional and local news and national radio.

 The Oklahoma relief project was the chapter's biggest success, Hutchinson said. More than seven tons of food was collected, $4,000 in cash and donations of vehicles to send to victims of a tornado that devastated Oklahoma City in May of 1999. "People came from everywhere to contribute. That's what community involvement is all about," Hutchinson said.

 Perrydale students are also well-known for their holiday gift and clothing drives.

 Hutchinson was also honored Sept. 7 at the Polk Soil & Water Conservation's annual awards picnic with their Educator of the Year Award. "You are an invaluable asset to our youth and our future and the agricultural community," said conservation board chair Alice Propes in bestowing the award. In accepting the honor, Hutchinson said the award is shared with all the students involved in Perrydale FFA.

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