Wabash County woman starts Indiana’s first virtual FFA chapter

Originally aired on WFFT-TV – January 31, 2020

A Wabash County woman started Indiana’s first ever virtual Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter.

Amber Lewis, agriculture and criminal justice teacher for the Indiana Digital Learning School, identified a need for an FFA chapter that was accessible to everyone.

“One of the great things about being virtual is that our students can be located in all 92 counties of our state,” Lewis said.

Lewis began speaking with Indiana FFA Association Director Robert Hayes about bringing the virtual chapter to life at the beginning of the year.

“We were all ecstatic,” Lewis said, “I would get emails every other day from members saying… Have you heard anything? Why is it taking so long? What’s the hold up?”

On Jan. 13 the FFA Indiana board made the first virtual FFA chapter in the state a reality.

“In my community, FFA is a really big thing, and I can’t be apart of the chapter in our county,” said Emily Starr, Vice President of the newly formed FFA chapter. “I thought it was really cool that our school itself was opening a chapter.”

With this initiative, Lewis hopes to break the stigmatism that is often associated with online education.

“You’ve got so many opportunities in the areas of technology, business, science, and mechanics,” Lewis said. “It’s not just the traditional farmer that makes up our student body.”

Along with learning agriculture best practices, members of the virtual FFA chapter will participate in community service projects and learn valuable leadership skills.

To learn more about Indiana Digital Learning School, visit https://indls.k12.com/

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