Two alumni from Philadelphia's only agricultural high school daily demonstrate their love for farming to youth on a statewide—and, for one, potentially national—level.
Jenna Moser and Sean Jones, Saul High School graduates, took a year off from college to serve in state offices for the Pennsylvania chapter of the Future Farmers of America.
From the class of 2010, Moser has held the state officer's role of reporter for the past year. A Penn State student studying agricultural education with a minor in international agriculture, Moser, from Roxborough, traveled the state with her six cohorts holding youth leadership workshops at over 110 schools, she said.
"It's not just us talking about the FFA and how impressive it is. We are teaching leadership skills and how they are linked to teamwork and communications," she said.
Her role as reporter allowed her to chronicle the FFA's work, compose articles and scrapbook photos, as well.
While Moser is just wrapping up her state role, Jones, a 2011 Saul graduate, is just beginning. Jones, who studies agricultural education and food sciences at Penn State Mont Alto, in Franklin County, will be sentinel for the FFA over the next year.
"The FFA sentinel helps greet people at events, and makes them comfortable whenever we visit at an event or school," he said.
Though new to the role, Jones, a West Oak Lane native, said his summer is already jammed packed.
"I'm just beginning, and I'm already so busy... Like tomorrow I'm going to a Lancaster farm, then a golf tournament Wednesday," he said.
For both Moser and Jones, they needed to weigh the decision of taking a year off from school to devote themselves to the FFA.
"It was a tough decision, but I said, 'Hey, I'm ready for it,' and I know already it paid off," Jones said.
He reasoned that the FFA allows him to experience farming and businesses to such a greater scale than studying would. Moser concurred.
"Yes, it would be nice to be out of college and be with my friends, but I don't miss taking finals and feeling that pressure. The clubs and organizations will still be there, and so will Penn State," she said. "It might be 2016 before I graduate."
Following involvement with the state FFA, Moser earned some national notoriety. She is currently a national officer candidate and could potentially delay school another year for the "once-in-a-lifetime" chance.
With over 540,000 members nationwide, FFA members could chose Moser to help lead the national organization and plan the 54,000-person convention in October.
Moser came to Saul because of its unique setting as an agricultural high school and affiliation with the FFA. Moser credited the "huge diversity of agricultural programs that, without a doubt, helped me."
Jones agreed. "I knew I wanted to be a teacher and wasn't sure what type until I came to Saul and fell in love with agriculture," he said.