April Fools’ Day: FFA Style (3/26/2021)

Next Thursday is April Fools’ Day. To prepare you for that event, this Footnote will try to fool you. I have listed 25 motions or suggestions/requests made at national FFA conventions or to the FFA Board of Directors. The majority of them, but not all, are ACTUAL motions or requests. Your task is to identify the REAL ones. But first, let us learn why we have an April Fools’ Day.

April Fools’ Day

There are several plausible theories as to the origin of April Fools’ Day. At the dawning of civilization, various calendars were used. In Egypt, the Coptic or Alexandrian Calendar was used. In Rome, the Julian (named for Julius Caesar) or Roman Calendar was used. There was also a Hindu Calendar. In both the Julian Calendar and the Hindu Calendar, the new year started with the spring equinox which occurs around April 1. All of these calendars had problems.

The Gregorian Calendar (what we use today) rectified the problems with the previous calendars. The Council of Trent called for the adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1563. This calendar starts the new year on January 1. However, in France and other countries, some people did not recognize the change and continued to celebrate the start of the new year on April 1. Thus, they were called April Fools.

Another theory is that April Fool’s Day is linked to the Hilaria festival which was celebrated in ancient Rome at the end of March by followers of Cybele (in Roman mythology, the mother of gods). People would dress up in disguises and mock fellow citizens. Hilaria is Latin for joyful. So, the people had a joyful time fooling others.

Some speculate the April Fools’ Day is tied to the vernal equinox or first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere when Mother Nature fools people with capricious weather.

We do know that April Fools’ was a two-day event in Scotland during the 1700s. On day one people were sent on phony errands known as “hunting the gowk” (gowk is a Scottish word for cuckoo bird which is a symbol for fool). The second day was Tailie Day which involved pranks such as pinning fake tails on people or placing “kick me” signs on their backside.

The FFA April Fools’ Quiz

Now, let’s see if you are an FFA April Fool. Circle your answer at the end of each statement below. In a few instances, the wording was changed slightly for clarity purposes but did not change the gist of the motion or suggestion. Are these REAL (TRUE) or FAKE (FALSE, FOOL) FFA motions/requests? If you want to score this quiz, each item is worth 4 points. Former students of mine will tell you I am good at making up plausible false answers on quizzes — so be warned.  The answer key is at the very end of this Footnote.

  1. Lynn of Illinois moved that there be no smoking during the convention next year; motion seconded and carried.  TRUE or FALSE
  2. Leo Clark of California moved that the FFA adopt the bulldog as a symbol for the Sentinel; motion seconded by Bob Dorsey of Colorado and lost. TRUE or FALSE
  3. The New Jersey FFA Association requested that FFA members serve a probationary period before they could wear a FFA jacket. TRUE or FALSE
  4. It was moved by Gaston of Massachusetts that a recommendation go to the Supply Service that an inside pocket on the right hand side be developed for the F.F.A. jacket, if possible; motion seconded by Jefcoat of Mississippi and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  5. Hunt of Arizona moved that a prize-winning lamb shown by a FFA member at the American Royal be purchased, dressed, and sent to President Roosevelt provided it did not cost more than $50. Motion was duly seconded and unanimously carried. TRUE or FALSE
  6. The FFA Manual Committee recommended in their report that “That the words of the song, ‘I’m in Love with a Boy of the FFA,’ be included with the other songs in the Manual.” Report was accepted. TRUE or FALSE
  7. It was moved by Jerry Ringo, seconded by Pete Knutson and carried that a curfew hour of 12:00 midnight be set for FFA members attending the national FFA convention. TRUE or FALSE
  8. It was moved by Lennie Gamage, seconded by Allen Colebank and carried that the Star Dairy Farmer of American not accept a milking contest challenge from Princess Kay of the Milky Way (American Dairy Foundation Princess).TRUE or FALSE
  9. It was moved by Harris of North Carolina that the national organization should not provide pictures of the Great Horned Owl to be used at the Adviser’s station; motion seconded and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  10. Moved by Maddux of Tennessee, seconded and carried, that the national organization furnish copies of the “General Order on Profanity” issued by George Washington in 1776, to all F. F. A. chapters.TRUE or FALSE
  11. The Delaware Association of Future Farmers of America recommended a change in the Opening Ceremony of a Future Farmer Meeting to include the repeating of the Lord’s Prayer. TRUE or FALSE
  12. The Oregon Association moved to amend Article IV, Paragraph 4 of the By-Laws of the National Constitution by striking the words “and shall not be reelected” and inserting the statement, “The National President shall be elected from among the previous year’s officers, provided it be in due harmony with at least one of those concerned and the current nominating committee.” TRUE or FALSE
  13. The Schoharie FFA Chapter in New York voted on having a County Farmer degree and requested to use the FFA emblem on this new FFA degree. This degree was between the chapter and state degree. TRUE or FALSE
  14. Ed Sullivan requested the FFA to endorse the. American Cancer Program and send a letter to chapters throughout the country urging the need for financial and volunteer support in the fight against cancer. It was moved by Terrell Benton, seconded by Allen Colebank and carried to reject this request. TRUE or FALSE
  15. It was moved by Colvin of Oregon to reject the proposed amendment to the national Constitution to have a national FFA officer known as the chaplain, motion seconded by Myers of South Dakota and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  16. Joe Faure of California, Chairman of the Resolutions Committee, presented a special resolution concerning world peace and moved its adoption; motion seconded by Berkowitz of Connecticut and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  17. Barton Ridling of Oklahoma read a resolution concerning the fight to save the soil and moved its adoption; motion seconded by Marvin Colburn of New Hampshire and carried. The resolution implored “the national association of Future Farmers of America encourage local chapter participation in land judging.” TRUE or FALSE
  18. Harlan Rigney of Illinois moved that the FFA resolve to cooperate with the American Heritage Foundation by encouraging all eligible voters to participate in the forthcoming election; motion seconded by Eugene Weaver of Indiana and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  19. It was moved by Hendrix of Nevada that the Chairman appoint a committee of five members to look into the matter of buying a bomber and report back to the convention as soon as possible; motion seconded and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  20. It was moved by Mr. Urton, seconded by Mr. Watson and carried that the Board of Directors accept the recommendation of the Board of Student Officers that FFA shoes not be adopted. TRUE or FALSE
  21. Jerry Robinson of Mississippi moved that the National Board of Student Officers have a code of law, as to the proper wear of the official jacket, drawn up. Some of the changes would be that FFA members not be allowed to wear athletic letters or pins on their jackets and that boys not be permitted to let girls wear their jackets. This code should appear in the official manual; motion seconded by Emmett McCracken of South Carolina and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  22. It was moved by Fuqua of Florida that the gavel used during this convention be given to President Cummins as a remembrance of the convention over which he presided; motion seconded by Wright of Nevada. It was moved by Price of Indiana to amend the motion to state that this procedure be continued every year; motion seconded by Mizer of Michigan and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  23. It was moved by Mr. Urton, seconded by Mr Hansucker and carried that each State be limited to recommending one, and only one, candidate for a National Office.TRUE or FALSE
  24. It was moved by Blakeslee of New Jersey that there be an emblem made in the form of a paperweight and included in this year’s Supply Service catalog, if possible; motion seconded by Chess of Pennsylvania. It was moved by Guilbeau of Louisiana to amend the motion by making it read that we also include bookends as an item from the Supply Service; motion seconded by Sweet of New Mexico and carried. TRUE or FALSE
  25. It was moved by Gelbach of Illinois that John Deere plows be the official plow of the FFA since John Deere invented the self-scouring steel plow which revolutionized agriculture 100 years ago in 1837 and that company donates miniature silver plows to the FFA to use at the Vice-President’s station; motion seconded by Gifford of Iowa and passed. TRUE or FALSE

Conclusions and Teaching Recommendations

Were you fooled by any of the motions? The answer key along with reference materials follows. How did you do?

If you need some fresh motions to use when teaching parliamentary procedure, you might consider using some of these. Over the years I got tired of the “taking a hayride” motion. It might be interesting to see the discussion some of these motions might generate.

There is no law that teaching has to be boring and dull. You might consider having your students (working individually or in teams) look through the FFA Manual or past FFA records (convention proceedings and Board of Directors minutes – found at https://archives.iupui.edu/handle/2450/142) and create a miniature version of this quiz. Students could come up with three items of which two are true and one is false. Have them challenge the other class members to pick out the fake item. You could use this quiz or selected items from the quiz to use as an example. I couldn’t think of a more fun activity for April 1. You might be surprised at the interest this activity creates. And you might even light a spark to have some students dig deeper. Let’s have some fun with April Fools’ Day.

Answer Key

  1. TRUE. 1941 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 28
  2. TRUE. 1952 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 23
  3. TRUE. January 1955 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 3
  4. TRUE. 1950 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 23-24
  5. TRUE. 1934 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 13
  6. TRUE. 1952 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 31
  7. TRUE. July 1957 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 13
  8. TRUE, January 1955 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 10
  9. TRUE, 1942 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 23
  10. TRUE. 1936 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 20
  11. TRUE. October 1954 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 4
  12. TRUE. 1950 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 18
  13. TRUE. January 1954 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 11-12. The request was rejected.
  14. TRUE. January 1956 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 10
  15. TRUE. 1955 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 24
  16. TRUE. 1955 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 14
  17. TRUE. 1952 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 23 & 45
  18. TRUE. 1952 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 22
  19. TRUE. 1942 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 16. The committee recommended against buying a bomber.
  20. TRUE. January 1955 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 11
  21. TRUE. 1952 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 26
  22. TRUE. 1951 FFA Convention Proceedings, p. 24
  23. TRUE. July 1954 Board of Directors Minutes, p. 10
  24. TRUE. 1950 Convention Proceedings, p. 21. It is my belief that the image below is of the paperweight. I have never seen FFA bookends.

  1. FALSE. I just made this up. But it is true that John Deere donated small silver plows to NFA and FFA chapters prior to the establishment of the FFA   Supply Service for use at the Vice-President’s station in the opening ceremony.



April Fool’s Day. (March 25, 2021) History.com. https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/april-fools-day