Ambitious student achieves dream of earning FFA degree

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Cole Claussen

Cole Claussen earned his Iowa FFA Degree by taking Agricultural Classes at North Scott High School.

Maggie Peterson, Business Manager

High school for many can be four years of discovering one’s interests and new classes which will prepare them for life. For one PV student, they have been working all of high school to set themselves up for success. 

Cole Claussen, a senior at PV, has been taking classes at North Scott for the last three years in order to earn his Iowa FFA (Future Farmers of America) degree. The organization provides students with hands-on experiences in the agricultural field, which will help them be successful later in life. The Iowa FFA degree is the highest rank which can be earned by active members by the Iowa FFA Association.

North Scott’s FFA Chapter was chartered on Dec. 8, 1958. According to North Scott’s Agriculture Department, there are “currently 260 agriculture students in the chapter from grades 7th-8th in the Junior High and 9th-12th in our High School.” The Chapter also provides opportunities for students from PV, Bettendorf, and Davenport to participate in their Agricultural classes and involvement in the chapter itself. 

Mike Zimmer, Director of Secondary Education at PV, is very proud of Claussen’s accomplishment. “Completion of the Iowa Degree is a fantastic accomplishment for Cole that would not have been possible without the working relationship between PV and NS,” said Zimmer.

Claussen had to fulfill many qualifications to earn the degree. Qualifications which had to be fulfilled in order for Claussen to earn his Iowa FFA degree. The first requirement is to have earned the Chapter FFA degree and be an active member of the FFA for at least two years. Next, at least 2 years (equivalent to 360 hours) must be completed in Agricultural Education, including a supervised agricultural experience program. North Scott’s department includes a lab room, a teaching room, a shop, and a greenhouse. They currently rent 40 acres and own 18 acres of farmland for a hands-on learning approach for its students. 

Next students must either earn and invest $1,500, work at least 375 hours in excess classwork or a combination of both. Claussen had plenty of opportunities for experience. “You have to have supervised Ag experience and between the family farm, my show calves and work I was able to get all the hours I needed,” said Claussen. 

The next requirement was at least 25 hours of additional community service activities. Finally, leadership within the chapter is required to earn the degree. This includes planning and participation in chapter activities and participating in at least five FFA activities above the chapter’s level. 

While this may seem like a lot of hard work and effort, Claussen believes it will pay off in the long run. The degree “could help me get a good job someday in the Ag field,” said Claussen. Zimmer also adds that this will help Claussen in his future career. Zimmer said, “our hope is that Cole will continue on and complete his American Degree at the post-secondary level.” 

The heavy course load and continued chapter and community service may seem daunting for some. But if students like Claussen stay focused and work hard they can achieve their dreams while still in high school.