It’s National FFA Week, so we’re featuring this design for Section 15 FFA as our Design of the Week.
The shirt is celebrating Section 15 FFA’s “Lock-In” event, the big kick-off of their National FFA Week festivities. “The goal is to get students excited about not only the upcoming week but FFA as an organization,” says Jaci Jenkins, Edwardsville FFA Advisor.
The Section 15 Lock-In features around 180 students from thirteen area high schools participating in an overnight event at an area YMCA. They’ll have plenty of activities for the time they’ll be “locked in;” a rock wall, inflatable obstacle courses, a skating area, gyms to play in, board games, video games, sports tournaments, among others.
There they’ll also all receive their custom Section 15 FFA Lock-In shirt commemorating the event.
The shirt’s design is a play off the “lock-in” idea, with the schools’ mascots locked up together behind bars. But if one were to look closely among the bulldogs and panthers, the cavaliers and lancers, you will also see a mythical creature that isn’t one of the 13 high schools’ mascots.
Included with the mascots on the shirt is the “Piasa Bird,” a dragon-like creature featured in an ancient Native American cliff painting in Alton, Illinois. With horns like a deer, a flowing beard like a lion, scale-covered, winged body like a dragon, and a tail like a fish, the Piasa Bird is believed to have served as a warning to strangers traveling down the Mississippi River in the that they were entering Cahokian territory.
The original, ancient mural that was painted by Native Americans on the limestone cliffsides of Madison County, Illinois is no longer intact. So, the Piasa Bird has been meticulously reproduced on a bluff in Alton, a few hundred yards upstream from its origin. It has become a landmark and attraction for the area, one that is so beloved by the students that they wanted it included in this shirt.
The National FFA Organization is the largest youth organization across the country. The FFA (Future Farmers of America) is a student organization that develops members’ potential and helps them discover their talent through hands-on experiences, giving them the tools to achieve real-world success.
“My favorite part about being an advisor is all the opportunities I am able to give my students through FFA,” says Jenkins.“This organization has so many things for students to better themselves and prepare them for the ‘real world.’ I loved FFA when in high school, so I am excited that I get to provide the opportunities I was given to my students.”
It’s sure to be a memorable weekend for the students as well as Jenkins’ who will be attending the Lock-In for the first time as a teacher. “I am most looking forward to seeing all of the students bonding together through an awesome organization!” she says.
Visit the official FFA website to see how the local chapters are celebrating 2019’s National FFA Week, Feb. 16-23!