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Hoosier FFA chapter uses corn to get involved in the community
By ANN ALLEN
Indiana Correspondent

AKRON, Ind. — Everything is focused on corn at Tippecanoe Valley High School where 54 FFA members currently are involved in community development activities, including raising funds for the family of a football player sidelined by cancer.

Located on SR 19 between Akron and Mentone, the school is surrounded by cornfields, making the name of its newly organized pep club - Children of the Corn - a natural.

After that, everything started mushrooming with FFA members closely involved. In addition to creating 180 corn rattles from used plastic bottles, they joined forces with the pep club in painting a car to look like the zebra mascot of Rochester High School and sold chances to smash it up during a home game.

The “smash ‘em up for Randall” event netted $140 given to the parents of Randall Hughes, a junior football player currently undergoing chemotherapy for a rare form of brain cancer.

Adding to the corn-i-ness, teacher Greg Sciarra suggested students make corn toss boards. By the time the first two boards were completed - there will be eight in all - a construction class taught by Dan Franklin and Sharon Kindig, the school secretary, had become involved. Kindig made the corn bags.

For the uninitiated, the game has been called many things - Corn Toss, Bean Bag, Bean Toss, Soft Horseshoes, Indiana Horseshoes or even Cornhole. So far, Valley’s is called Corn Toss, but that is subject to change.

Believed to have originated in 14th century Germany and then rediscovered in the hills of Kentucky more than 100 years ago, the game is similar to horseshoes except that players use wooden boxes called cornhole platforms and corn bags instead of horseshoes and metal stakes. Contestants take turns in pitching their corn bags at the cornhole platform until a contestant reaches a score of 21. A corn bag in the hole scores three points while one on the platform scores one.

Plans call for using the corn bag toss at tailgating parties. During homecoming activities, the FFA chapter, directed by advisor Lisa Paxton, sponsored a community bonfire with the school band performing. Coach Jeff Shriver provided comments and the cheerleaders led the school fight song.

Paxton is quick to note that not everything the FFA is doing revolves around corn. Eighteen members recently participated in the District II kickoff meeting at Bremen, involving 11 other schools.

“Our kids interacted with other FFA members in cooperation and team building events,” she said.

Just about what they’re accomplishing with corn at Valley.

This farm news was published in the Oct. 18, 2006 issue of Farm World, serving Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan and Tennessee.

10/18/2006