ANDOVER — While most teen-agers were still sleeping, the Pymatuning Valley High School FFA was up and at ’em on the morning of Feb. 22. And what were these ambitious future farmers awake for? They were up early on that cold morning to make breakfast for the teachers of the Pymatuning Valley School District. The annual end of the national celebration of FFA Week is a very exciting day for the students and the teachers alike.
The breakfast has a long history, going back 53 years according to Karen Cooley, Pymatuning Valley’s FFA adviser and agricultural science teacher. It has the same purpose now that it did back then – the breakfast is an appreciation of support that the teachers, city commissioners and trustees, the school board and board office, staff and alumni of the district provide to the students of the FFA.
FFA uses the family and consumer science classrooms to host the event. Students begin early, around 6 a.m., preparing eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes and toast in the foods lab kitchens. In the adjoining classroom, tables are set up with place settings for all of the incoming guests. And the guests are anxious to start arriving. When they do, they are greeted by super cheerful members of the FFA.
Sophomore Andrew Holden said that getting up early wasn’t his favorite part, but once they started cooking and serving, it is really fun. “I like doing it then,” he said.
First year members act as the seating and wait staff. These anxious students take orders, help guests find somewhere to sit, and then promptly deliver the food being made by all of the more senior members. Walking around in the restaurant-like atmosphere, the teachers, the community members, everyone is smiling, happy and so grateful for the hard work the students are doing. Anne Siembor and Nathan Smith, a member of PVHS science department and math department respectively, raved about the bacon.
Smith said, “My wife would definitely approve of the real maple syrup.”
Cooley barely had a chance to sit down because she was busy supervising, but she knows what she is doing since this was her 24th breakfast. She said it went really smoothly, and added that some years, the weather has played havoc, so she was pretty grateful for everything to have gone so well.
Among those enjoying the breakfast were superintendent Mike Candela; board president and vice-president, Eric Senor and Duane Marcy; and Cyndi Feydo from the board office as well as all the high school teachers. Don Schmidt of the high school science department was excited to win his first PV FFA T-shirt.
Jessica Krulic, this year’s FFA president, expressed the sense of tradition she has felt by being part of the breakfast. As a senior, she felt responsibility, but also a sense of her impending graduation and leaving behind such great times.
Because the PV buildings work on a staggered start time, the primary school teachers came in a little bit later. The enthusiasm and the food all held up through the later expected guests as well. With everyone served and satisfied, the last job was cleanup, and all members were expected to chip in and get it done as well. With all of the fun and the FFA’s hard work, there was truly a sense that not only is breakfast the most important meal of the day, but that the breakfast served at the end of FFA Week is one of the favorite meals of the year, at least at PVHS!