The Vilonia FFA dinner was held, Saturday night, with plates of catfish, an auction and a couple of hundred in attendance.
“What is brought in tonight, goes back to the kids,” said Ag teacher Harold McCain, addressing the crowd, prior to the beginning of the auction. He said the money from the event will go toward paying the students’ expenses at the fall convention. FFA members said they hoped to raise $16,000. Many of the items were made by students while other items were donated.
National FFA president Taylor McNeel was on hand for the event and spoke briefly. She told students she had, recently, met an Ag teacher in Minnesota, who spelled FFA with the letters “opportunities.”
There were also some politicians at the event including Douglas House, state representative, and JP Steve Goode.
The McClelland family of Paragould, including Rodney, Lora, and their son, Nathan and daughter in law, Phalycia, helped with the event. Rodney, who served as one of the auctioneers, said he was in FFA when he was a kid and “has been around kids the past 25 years,” helping with FFA events. A prayer said for him, he told the audience that he has been diagnosed with cancer. He also said he has high hopes he will beat it and be at next year’s auction. According to Lora McClelland, the family has traveled to about 17 schools, this year, donating their services.
Most of the auction items went for a fair price. For instance, a six-week old, Heeler puppy named Mason Dickson brought $175, a cake brought $125 and a handmade picnic set, made from a wire spool, sold for $775.
A 50-50 drawing, teacher Sherry Loyd won half of the $446 collected. However, she declined taking home the money and donated it back to the FFA.