Barnsdall Public Schools starts FFA chapter

Robert Smith

BARNSDALL — The public schools here had no Future Farmers of America (FFA) program up through the 2018-19 year, and a student decided to do something about it.

Barnsdall High School senior Chance McGill, 17, studied the problem and went to talk with Superintendent Jeff Lay about it. The result, after going through the process of getting Board of Education approval and hiring a teacher to handle the agriculture program, is a brand-new chapter that already has more than 50 members.

This was not the result of an off-handed suggestion by a student that caught the ear of a sympathetic adult. Chance McGill had a desire, and he studied the problem and worked at helping to provide a solution.

“I really wanted to leave a legacy,” he said. “That was my goal for my senior year.”

The Barnsdall FFA chapter is already busy. Students have attended cattle-grading events, have showed at the Tulsa County Free Fair in Pawhuska, and have helped to set up for the Tulsa State Fair. The fair is scheduled to run from Sept. 26 through Oct. 6.

McGill, who is president of the fledgling chapter, said he and his peers also want to do community service. He mentioned having an outreach at Christmas for children, and participating in humanitarian activities such as coat drives and soup kitchen work.

McGill was allowed to participate in the school district’s process for choosing an agriculture teacher and advisor for FFA, and he voiced pleasure with the choice of Jace Goodwin, who is readily fitting into the Barnsdall community.

In advocating for agricultural education in the Barnsdall schools, McGill has both served the development of his own budding talent and offered his peers an example of how to bring about positive change in their community.

In addition to school and church activities, and both 4-H and FFA activities, McGill has been making a name for himself as an announcer. He was, for instance, the announcer for Pioneer Woman Ree Drummond’s Patriotic Party on the Prairie, where he announced the Pioneer Woman on-stage. He has also received an online compliment for his announcing from Kelly Bland, director of Osage County Tourism, who referred to him as “Kool Kid McCool.”

“I like that kid,” Bland said of McGill, sharing the opinion that Osage County will be hearing more from him. “He’s a keeper.”