A group of hard-working Astoria High School students got up before the sun this morning to flip eggs, grill French toast and brown sausage - all for the love of their hard-working teachers.

In the old home economics classroom, now used for agricultural classes, Astoria FFA students turned on the stoves before 6 a.m., expecting about 50 teachers to show up for the meal.

The event brought to a close a student-planned five-day celebration of National FFA week, highlighting daily community service projects throughout the area. FFA used to stand for Future Farmers of America, but has changed its name to just the initials because it has widened its scope.

Hannah Brause, the Astoria FFA chapter's adviser, had little doubt the students would pull off the breakfast with ease, considering all the other achievements the group has racked up recently.

"This truly is a student-run organization," Brause said. "I'm meant to be an adviser, but it's great to see them working without me." This is the second year the chapter has celebrated the week, and Brause was impressed at how much the group of 45 members was able to manage. The chapter has a student chairwoman for the week, Courtney Carlson, who has overseen the chairmen who have organized each individual event.

On Monday, a handful of students contributed their labor to a river clean-up project, and on Tuesday they visited Clatsop Retirement Village to help the residents get acquainted with the new Wii game the Village had purchased but hadn't yet set up.

Karen Lovejoy, the activities director at the Village, said she was impressed at the kids' patience, teaching something they all knew so well. They walked through many of the individual games, but the boxing demonstration was a favorite.

"They had a whole lot of fun watching them duke it out," Lovejoy said. "These teenagers were the pros."

On Wednesday, Elizabeth Coggins, the chapter president, and fellow chapter member Michael Seymour planned a petting zoo for the kindergartners at Capt. Robert Gray Elementary School.

Coggins said the kindergartners had a particular fondness for the baby lambs, the only animal they could pick up.

"The kids were so intrigued, and a line formed quickly to do it again. Some of them had never seen livestock animals before," Coggins said.

On Thursday, member Tim Clark led an effort to raise funds for the organization by "passing the pig" from one local business to another.

Brause, the adviser, said she's seen tremendous growth and achievement recently among the members she leads. The chapter won the FFA's Superior Chapter award, an accolade that hasn't happened her for quite some time.

"As far as our records indicate, this hasn't been awarded to Astoria in 30 years," Brause said.

Additionally, three members earned their state FFA degree, a feat that had only been accomplished by one FFA member in the past 20 years, she said.


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