Streator FFA chapter turns 90

Students celebrate benchmark anniversary during FFA Week

The 2023 Streator FFA Chapter photo, featuring 216 members.

Since 1934, the Streator FFA chapter has served as a staple student organization at Streator High School.

FFA students are celebrating the benchmark during National FFA Week this week with a number of activities, including the second annual Streator FFA Alumni Auction at 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 24, at the high school.

What once was designed to teach and update young men about production, agriculture and vocational skills has transitioned and transformed into a leadership-driven organization for all walks of life.

In the 1930s, young men learned how to raise and care for livestock, speak in public and apply real-life skills within their community. Additionally, members attended state and national FFA conventions in the back of a homemade wagon that still stands in the ag shop to this day.

As the years passed, the National FFA Organization and Streator FFA chapter have progressed. One of the strongest steps of progression took place in 1969, when women were allowed to join the National FFA Organization.

This amendment to the National FFA constitution and bylaws was a turning point for the organization, as women in Streator began joining the organization. Today, the Streator FFA chapter has a higher percentage of women than men.

An organization that is 90 years old has its fair share of traditions. For the past 47 years, the chapter has held a pancake breakfast during FFA Week to say thank you to community members, alumni, parents and teachers for their support of the program.

Additionally, a common spring activity called Farm Fair creates an atmosphere for youth to learn about animal agriculture. Students bring their livestock into school for a three-day petting zoo. This year, the fair will return from March 25 to 27. Traditions such as these have created spaces to discuss and remember the past for hundreds of former FFA members.

Although old traditions are important, new ones also have been created, such as Think OINK and the annual Official Dress Prom photo. Think OINK, in which students care for a sow through the birth process of her piglets, has allowed for FFA members to learn more about production agriculture.

Additionally, the annual prom photo allows junior and senior members to reflect on their career in the FFA.

In the past 90 years, the Streator FFA chapter has grown. From 30 original charter signers to 216 members today, the growth is continued through community support.