In a day and age when FFA chapters have been closing or seeing a decline in membership, there is a brand new FFA chapter just formed at Turkeyfoot Valley Area School District in Somerset County.
The Turkeyfoot Valley FFA received its charter in January 2012 at the Pa. Farm Show in Harrisburg but became active this past school year. So far, there are more than 30 students on the roster and there are hopes those numbers grow until next year.
"We are very excited about participating in the upcoming county events and activities and are looking forward to an awesome school year in 2013-14," said Leanna Weimer, FFA adviser and vocational agricultural teacher.
The last FFA chapter at Turkeyfoot fell by the wayside in the 1970s when the FFA adviser retired. Now, Weimer's background in agriculture plays a big part in why a new chapter has reopened at Turkeyfoot.
The former Leanna Beachy, daughter of Ron and Connie (Geiyer) Beachy, was graduated from Turkeyfoot in 1999 and never set out to become a teacher. In fact, she had plans to find a job in agriculture. She was graduated from Garrett Community College with an associate degree in business in 2001 and then she received a bachelor's degree in agriculture and natural resources from Oregon State University in 2006.
But, when that job in agriculture didn't pan out, Weimer started substitute teaching at Turkeyfoot and realized she loved it. She became a science teacher and also has an elective class in agriculture every day. When it was necessary for her to take a test to become an agricultural teacher, it was easy because of her background.
"I originally went to school for agriculture and did not want to become a teacher. But I grew to love seeing the kids learn things and become excited about learning," said Weimer. "It is very rewarding."
Weimer went back to school and got her teaching degree through Drexel University in Philadelphia and then a master's degree in science from Drexel with a teaching certificate.
Weimer resides at Fort Hill with her husband, Steven Weimer, a graduate of Rockwood, and their twin boys, Connor and Riley, 6.
When a survey about what student clubs were needed at Turkeyfoot was passed out to students and administration, FFA became a popular choice. Weimer, who was involved in 4-H in high school but not FFA because Turkeyfoot did not have that program then, believes this program teaches leadership skills and responsiblity.