An anonymous donor has gifted every Houston County district high school with over $10,000 a piece to benefit their Future Farmers of America or agriculture program.
Checks arrived at each of the high schools – Rehobeth, Ashford, Houston County, Wicksburg, and Cottonwood — sometime last week. The benefactor stated his intent to keep his identity a secret, and entrusted the money to the each agriculture department to use as it saw fit.
Rehobeth High School’s FFA program already had a big purchase in mind to use with a significant portion of the money — a John Deere 2306 tractor in the amount of $11,000.
The purchase was approved at Monday night’s school board meeting.
That night, it was revealed that each high school was given a check from the same person to benefit the agricultural department’s programs.
Donya Holland, the agriculture instructor at Ashford High School, said the donation was a surprise. No information was provided as to why the donor provided the large gift.
“We feel very blessed,” Holland said. “One of the things we intend to do with a major proportion of the money is to increase awareness of farm safety…”
Holland, who also serves as the FFA adviser, said her student group would like to increase the public’s knowledge of how to prevent crime on farms. One of things she said the public might not be aware of is purchasing a stamp with an identification number that can be engraved into metal equipment. The numbers will be placed on a database so that if the equipment is stolen, it may be retrieved in good shape.
The money will also allow the members to continue with competitions at the local, state, and possibly national levels and further their education with conventions.
It is unclear how much money was donated or if each of the schools received the same amount, but Rehobeth, Cottonwood, and Ashford high schools reported receiving significant amounts.
Local school purchases exceeding $5,000 must have the signature of the principal and the superintendent, according to the Houston County Board of Education’s accounting procedures manual.