Agriculture teacher Kevin Gleason said he is proud to provide this opportunity for his students, calling it, "the crown jewel" of his program.
FFA members must earn the right to go on the educational tour, whose highlight is the National Western Stock Show. Along the way, they viewed Finney County Feeders, a Garden City feedlot with 25,000 head of cattle; toured the 2,300-cow McCarty Dairy Farm near Scott City; went skiing for a day in Loveland, Colo.; attended the PRCA Rodeo going on in Denver at the time; and toured the Sternburg Museum in Hays.
To go on the trip, members had to earn points in FFA participation; pass all of their fall 2012 classes and be in good standing; and attend a leadership session or participate in an interview to determine their interest.
Gleason said the USD 235 School Board is fully supportive of the trip, providing $1,300. The rest -- about $260 -- is paid by the students.
The group also stopped at businesses of two UHS alumni, Jeff George at Finney County Feeders and Kevin Davis at the Scott City Agriculture Department.
George provided accommodations for the group at a hotel for one night.
Besides the educational aspect of the trip, benefits were the experience of planning a major activity; having to quality and work to attend the trip; a chance to experience a different climate and scenery; a chance to develop camaraderie with other students; and the opportunity to snow ski and view the Rocky Mountains, he noted.
Trip participants were: Amber Bartlett, Mercedes Chaplin, Dalton Clifton, Hayden Cole, Austin Collins, Raylene Crystal, Zach Davis, Rachel DeMoss, Jonah Ericson, Haley Felt, Hannah Fry, Dalton Fuhrman, Cheyanna Harper, NIkki Harris, Torrie Hathaway, Jay Hierholzer, Zak Hueston, Austin Jefferis,Zach Johns, Terie Jones, Chance Kimrey, Aubri Manbeck, Shelby Newman, Anna Oberle, John Reed, Stephanie Robinson, Cole Schafer, Kyle Schnichels, Zach Schwalm, C.J. Stiffler, Britney Stokes, Aleah Sutterby, Caleb Sutterby, Lane Sutterby, Sarah Townsend, Jonathan Wheeler.
Thirteen sponsors helped on the trip: Jolene Crystal, Erica Chickly, Sue Wheeler, James Jeffries, Marty Crystal, Don Wheeler, Kevin Gleason, Daniel Johns, B.J. Bartlett, Dale Griffiths, Laura Beerbower, David Fuhrman and Willie Hathaway.