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Thursday, October 02, 2014
Canajoharie, NY ,

Joshua Thomas
From left, FFA members Stephanie Arndt, Ashley Chapman and Heather Bartholf make 50 lollipops to pass out to teachers next week upon their return to school.

Joshua Thomas
35 vendors filled the OESJ High School gymnasium during Saturday's first fundraising Mohawk Valley FFA Craft Fair and Garage Sale.

Joshua Thomas
Max Kadric looks at items available at the garage sale table while FFA member Dustin Vicciarelli looks on.

Joshua Thomas
Community members, FFA members, students and staff all donated to the garage sale table.

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Locals, students, teachers bring in money for Mohawk Valley FFA

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 - Updated: 10:04 AM

By JOSHUA THOMAS

C-S-E Editor

ST. JOHNSVILLE -- On Saturday, the Mohawk Valley FFA held the first-ever fundraising Craft Fair and Garage Sale, where 35 vendors set up in the OESJ High School gymnasium. By mid afternoon 250 had passed through, and the FFA -- already planning to make the event annual -- was thrilled with its success.

Money was brought in not only through vendor space sales, but through food and baked goods sales, with many of the 18 FFA vendors cooking and preparing baked goods in advance of the event.

All 20 Mohawk Valley FFA members were involved in some capacity, from organizing and advertising the event, making a map of the gym, assigning booth space, making a concessions list and shopping for necessary items, and donating items for the garage sale booth, which lined the entire back wall of the gymnasium, loaded with items not only donated by students, but also by community members and district staff.

The funds raised Saturday will likely be put toward hotel and travel expenses for an annual FFA state convention held in Western New York.

Many of the OESJ classes had booths set up at the event to raise money for various causes. Members of the Class of 2016, with their two advisors, Jennifer Frasier and Dale Rackmyre, sold coupon books to benefit their class trip, which will take place in a couple years. While the group hasn't firmly decided on a destination yet, they noted that they're considering Florida or a cruise.

The Class of 2014 sold baked goods, made by 7-8 class members in the few days prior to Saturday's event, to raise money for their senior trip. While the trip hasn't yet been officially approved, class members said they've decided they'd like to visit Florida's Universal Studios, and will soon propose the destination for approval.

The Class of 2014 didn't have an advisor for longer than some of the other classes, so events such as Saturday's are very important in raising as much money as possible. OESJ Senior Ryan Becker stated, "Now is the time to really jump on it and do all the things we can."

A group of 11th grade students sold tickets for the raffle of a quilt made by a district art teacher, with all donations going to OESJ educator Marie Colorito, recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The students were also providing information about an upcoming basketball game, "Ballin' for Chooch" (Chooch being a pet name Colorito called her students and vice versa), that will take place April 10.

The venue also hosted numerous local vendors, including professional photographer and district staff member Terry Potoczny, whose photos -- which range from animals, to nature scenery, to reflective water scenes, mostly taken locally -- sold briskly, with Potoczny explaining that even with hours left, he'd already made the vendor fee back, plus extra.

The fact that the event was also a garage sale allowed Potoczny to sell other items as well, including collectibles such as KISS and Jeff Gordon memorabilia.

"I think I did pretty good," said Potoczny, commenting that he'd like to see more local school districts hold such events. "I'd do more of these if there were more like it," he said, noting that he currently only shows his photos annually at one other event.

"They're a good group of kids that work hard," said Potoczny of the Mohawk Valley FFA.

Damin Farm sold homemade items from their commercial kitchen, including maple syrup, fruit syrups, pickled garlic, and homemade sauerkraut. Owner Barb Damin said that her experience went, "very well," commenting of the opportunity to help raise money for the local chapter of the FFA, "I feel excellent. It's a good thing to do, and I'm all for it."

Joshua Thomas - Stephanie Arndt, left, with Ashley Chapman, announces raffle winners Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - 11th graders, from left, Kait Isaac, Leann Clark and Brad Smith sell raffle tickets to benefit their teacher Marie Colorito, recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

Joshua Thomas - Barb Damin, with OESJ 10th grader Brett Scallise, sells items on behalf of St. Johnsville business Damin Farm.

Joshua Thomas - Back, from left, Class of 2016 students David Rackmyre III, Aron Frasier and Marcus Raux, with class advisors, front, from left, Dale Rackmyre and Jennifer Frasier.

Joshua Thomas - OESJ staff member and photographer Terry Potoczny displayed about 60 photographs from the last year or so Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - Mohawk Valley FFA Craft Fair and Garage Sale attendees shop Saturday.

Joshua Thomas - Class of 2014 members Jessica Senft and Ryan Becker sell baked goods, prepared by 7-8 class members, to benefit their senior trip.

     

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