Those gathered to support the Felicity-Franklin FFA from the comfort of their own vehicles. Photo provided by Holly Jennings.

A night at the drive-in: Banquet edition

By Bethany Starlin, OCJ FFA reporter

Unusual times call for unusual measures and the Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter is no stranger to this fact. In an effort to maximize participation of students, parents, supporters and community members, their annual chapter banquet was held at the Starlite Drive-In in Amelia, Ohio.

“Typically, our school cafeteria is filled with over 400 FFA members and community members for our annual banquet to celebrate the success of our members. This year, our banquet took place at a local drive-in movie theatre,” said Luke Jennings, junior FFA member at Felicity-Franklin High School. 

This marked the second year Felicity-Franklin FFA held their banquet in this format. Despite receiving clearance to host their chapter banquet in the school cafeteria with a limited capacity this year, they decided to move forward with the drive-in option. Guidelines at the time of the decision would have allowed only 150 guests to be in attendance. With roughly 120 members in the chapter, they knew a bigger space was needed in order to recognize their members in the fashion they deserved. 

The banquet itself was a compiled video consisting of over 50 individual video clips all filmed by the Felicity-Franklin FFA chapter officer team. 

“The chapter officer team begun the banquet with opening ceremonies, then CDE, LDE, Agriscience Fair and other awards were presented, we awarded the Chapter Honorary Degree to some incredible individuals, and finally ended the night by installing the 2021-2022 Felicity-Franklin FFA Officer team,” Luke said. 

Members receiving awards were highlighted through graphics that featured a photo of them as well as the award they were receiving. 

“We have so many different students that have stepped out of their comfort zones and tried new things and served on committees and excelled in new areas. We are excited to highlight them and put them in the spotlight, even if it is just for a few minutes,” said Holly Jennings, Felicity-Franklin agriscience educator and FFA advisor. “They will get to be the shining star on the big screen!” 

To make the most of the nighttime atmosphere, the banquet’s theme was “Ready. Set. Glow.” Prior to the playing of the banquet video, those in attendance had the opportunity to participate in a variety of outdoor games, including the chapter favorite, 9 Square in the Air. The chapter also hosted a car decorating competition for all to participate. 

“It may look different, be a change of scenery, and seem unconventional, but to say we were excited to recognize our outstanding students is truly an understatement,” Luke said. “Celebrating our members with the people that continuously support our chapter is special.”

The community members and supporters in attendance went above and beyond to make this night special for all involved. When a student they recognized came on the screen, they sounded their car horns and flashed their car’s lights in place of cheering and applauding. 

“As an alumni, it was amazing to see how the chapter members, officers and advisors persevered through these challenges and showed their resiliency by putting on a fun and unique banquet,” said Bailey Lowe, former Felicity-Franklin FFA member.

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