If you were around Ag Hall on Friday, Feb. 1, you may have found yourself caught up in a throng of high school students. More than 700 of them came to campus for the Collegiate FFAs annual Hocky Extravaganza, an event which involved pizza, members of the UW band, Bucky Badger, and a chance to watch the Badger men’s hocky team defeat the University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs 3–1.
The event began with a pre-game pep rally where the high school students enjoyed pizza, met other FFA members, polished their Badger cheers and fight songs, and learned more about student life at UW-Madison. The FFA members were greeted by Robert Ray, Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Services with the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, members of the UW Marching Band, and Bucky Badger himself.
Erika Palcic, president of the FFA Chapter at Big Foot High School in Walworth, was excited to attend the Hockey Extravaganza for the first time. The high school senior said she wanted to learn more about opportunities to continue her FFA career in college. She said that Collegiate FFA seemed like a great way to further develop leadership skills and make career connections.
Rick Henningfeld, FFA advisor and agriculture instructor at Big Foot, welcomed the opportunity to bring students to a college campus in a fun setting. “It’s pretty cool to bring high school kids to any college campus to give them exposure to it,” said, himself a UW-Madison graduate.
Henningfeld said he used the ride to Madison to talk to his students about their plans for after high school. He said events like the Hockey Extravaganza are great for recruiting students and giving them a chance to interact socially with students from all over the state.
The Hockey Extravaganza was started five years ago as a way to give Dane County high school students a glimpse of student life. It has since grown to become one of the state’s largest Collegiate FFA events and serves as a great way for the UW-Madison Collegiate FFA to fulfill its mission “(to develop) premier leadership, personal growth and career success by supporting Wisconsin FFA members and building community on campus.”