Rector FFA auction a resounding success
More than 350 people attended the 10th annual FFA dinner and auction Saturday night, March 3, sponsored by Rector's FFA students and their ag teacher, Craig Dewey, for a fun and exciting evening in support of Rector's Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Held at the Rector Community Center, the event opened with a delicious catfish meal prepared by volunteers and students. FFA students told the crowd that funds raised during the event and the chapter's annual fall Boston butts sale go toward FFA trips, college scholarships and to feed needy families over the holidays.
The college scholarships funded by the events include the new Kayley Bell scholarship, in memory of a Rector FFA student who died in an accident last year.
More than $15,000 was raised during the evening's activities, which Dewey called an "amazing night."
Over 100 businesses and individuals from Rector, Paragould, Jonesboro, Kennett and beyond donated items for the auction.
"The quality and wide variety of items we had to offer this year was up from years past," chapter member Daniel White said.
Auction items were from every imaginable category, including farm tools and products, Arkansas Razorback items (including autographed U of A and ASU footballs), home and garden items, clothing, hair care and makeup items, jewelry, business gift cards, many handcrafted items, the "cash in the hat" and much more.
Students collected auction items for over a month, and, in addition, Rector FFA ag shop students had been building a number of auction items since the beginning of the school year, including storage sheds, duck blinds, deer stands, picture frames, decorative house signs and a grill.
Other notable auction items included beautiful handmade duck calls by Seth Henley, an alumni member, and a handmade bench and chair donated and built by master craftsman Gerald Hartsfield of Rector.
A lovely queen-sized quilt is a yearly labor of love made and donated by Wanda Hill, the grandmother of Craig Dewey. Wanda and other family members of Dewey drove over from western Arkansas to offer their support for the event.
Another very special auction "item" slept underneath Wanda's feet all the way to Rector from Overcup (Conway County), Ark. That "item" was "Junebug's Grandson," a fuzzy white seven-week-old Blue Heeler Aussie and Red Heeler mix pup who was up for auction at the event.
Anyone connected with the Rector FFA department knows that "Junebug" is the official FFA mascot who spends his days at the school FFA shop, where everyone loves and dotes on him.
The main auctioneers for the event included Rodney McClelland and Michael Hollis who worked tirelessly all evening until nearly midnight, working and entertaining the crowd to auction off the many items.
Although many people volunteer their time and money in support of the FFA auction event, one Rector farmer deserves special mention for his generous volunteer efforts. FFA alumni David Simmons is considered the "go to man," according to Dewey, and has been a major contributor to the FFA program for a number of years. Simmons has cooked, donated money and purchased a number of auction items for the events since its inception 10 years ago.
"I consider the students my 'kids' and I really enjoy helping them. It's all about the kids," Simmons says.
Of the evening, Dewey added, "I would like to thank the community, auctioneers, ringmen, Rector FFA alumni, area businesses and my family for supporting the Rector FFA. My students benefit greatly from the endless support that has been shown by these people."