Hayes speaks at annual FFA banquet in Tyrone

Former Secretary of Agriculture for Pennsylvania Sam Hayes told a packed Tyrone High School cafeteria last evening that the people responsible for keeping the United States on its feet don’t know what a day off is. He said they don’t know a holiday or what a simple 8-hour workday is.
“They are the people that get up each and every morning with one thing on their mind,” said Hayes. “And that’s the work they do to put food in the mouths of the millions Americans that make this country so great.”
Hayes, of course, was talking about the people involved in agriculture and the farmers of the U.S.
“This particular group of men and women get paid far less than they richly deserve,” he said. “These are the people that make us independent when it comes to our most basics of needs.”
Hayes was amongst more than 140 others who attended the annual Tyrone Future Farmers of America annual banquet. He said everyone was there for a single reason – to show support for the young individuals who have the opportunity to carry on one of Pennsylvania’s most important industries.
Hayes used his speaking time to encourage the students’ continued efforts in agriculture. He said the need and desire to continue to push the industry doesn’t stop when they leave the walls of the Tyrone High School.
“There are more job opportunities in agriculture today than there have ever been before,” said Hayes. “Pennsylvania will become better because of agriculture and agriculture will become better because of you.
“All of you can’t own your own farms for one reason or another, but there’s still so much you can do,” he continued. “You are getting that basic training here that is so important. It’s going to help you as you carry this rich tradition into the future.”
Hayes also discussed the importance of good citizenship to continue to push Pennsylvania ahead.
“This cannot continue to be a good society without good citizens,” he said. “The people that make agriculture work and grow are some of the best people of our society. We all need to thank you for the contribution you have made to America.”
Hayes also thanked the members of FFA, the parents of those members and the administrators that make the program work in Tyrone.
“Chris (Carney, FFA instructor at TAHS) is a wonderful person that’s dedicated to agriculture and should be commended for passing this desire and determination on to the many students that she comes into contact with each and everyday,” said Hayes. “People like this are continuing to push the need of agriculture in our society.”
Carney, who has instructed FFA students for the past four years at TAHS, said Hayes’ speech was an encouragement for students.
“Sometimes, when the agricultural industry seems to be in a downward trend, like it is now, it takes some positive words about agriculture for momentum to continue,” said Carney. “Hayes always has positive words to say about this industry and I think the students really understood the point Sam was trying to make. He’s done so much for agriculture and he’s continuing to instill these important values on the youth that may want to follow in his footsteps.”
Following Hayes’ short talk, president of the Tyrone’s FFA chapter, Ryan Clark, presented the former Ag secretary with a commemorative plaque. FFA Greenhand member Adrienne Ray then presented Hayes’ wife Betty with a floral bouquet for her continued efforts in the agriculture industry.
After senior FFA members introduced their special guests of the evening, a short slide show was presented detailing the activities of the chapter over the course of the academic year. These slides included images of the Sinking Valley Farm Show in September, the November and December citrus sale and delivery, the January Pennsylvania Farm Show and the March 3-on-3 basketball tournament.
The award section of the banquet opened with members Lyndsay DelBaggio and Courtney (Heather) Sible presenting teacher recognition awards to Paula Binus and Bonnie Gummo. Also, student teacher Angie Brown was awarded a plaque and introduced into the chapter as an honorary member.
“FFA is not just about farming and agriculture,” said Carney just prior to introducing the student officers for 2002-03. “It’s also about the development of students. These are dedicated individuals that live for agriculture.”
The officers include: Ryan Clark, president; Jesse Snyder, vice-president; Courtney Sible, secretary; Emma McCleester, assistant secretary; Caleb Marshall, treasurer; Kevin Soellner, assistant treasurer; Joseph Beck, sentinel; Lyndsay DelBaggio, reporter; Forrest Burghard, advisor; and Joshua Shuey, chaplain.
Associate Greenhand members are: Elvin Lamey, Jonathan Sellers, Luke Taylor and Emma McCleester.
Greenhand members include: Joseph Beck, Sara Briggs, Sarah Campbell, Roberta Carper, Nichole Dean, Samantha Friday, Tiffany Golemboski, Andy Johnson, Adrienne Ray, John Rudy, Brock Walls and Sarah Wilson.
Chapter Members include: Forrest Burghard, Lyndsay DelBaggio, Andy Marshall, Caleb Marshall, Josh Shuey, Courtney Sible, Kevin Soellner, Tara Taylor, Amanda Teeters and Heather Young.
Keystone Farmer Members are: Ryan Clark and Jesse Snyder, 2003; Samantha Beck, 2002; and Courtney Sible and Shari Webb, 2001.
Other awards included the Star designation with J.T. Beck and Ryan Clark; Area Degree with Josh Shuey; and J.T. Beck was recognized for being the top fruit basket seller.
After the awards were presented, the officers presented Carney with a gift of office organizing equipment, a floral bouquet and a new mouse pad with all the signatures of the current officers.
“We really had a good turnout and everything went as smoothly as we hoped it would,” said Carney. “The ones that deserve the credit for this entire thing are the students. They organized everything and carried it out to a ‘T’.
“It makes it all the worthwhile to have family, friends and the community come out and experience the work of these hard-working kids,” she said.
According to Carney, the work doesn’t stop here. A public square dance is scheduled from 8-11 p.m. on April 5 at the Sinking Valley Farm Show building. For more information on the dance, contact 684-4240, extension 3131.
The group is also planning its first annual bus trip for a time yet to be determined and FFA Week and the state competitions will be celebrated at Penn State University in June.