Edition 2 of Legacy Families- LaLiberty Family Had A Major Impact On MT FFA
The word legacy means many different things. When it comes to being part of a legacy family, here is what Merriam- Webster dictionary says about Legacy:
Something transmitted by or received from an ancestor or predecessor or from the past
Legacy Families in the FFA do just that. They pass on the passion, knowledge and drive to future generations.
FFA Runs Deep In The Stevensons'
The LaLiberty family is one that has done that, and then some. As you will see in the biography below, Frank has had a tremendous impact on 100’s if not 1000’s of students, and now his kids have taken on that role as well.
The biography was provided by the LaLiberty family and has not been changed by me.
The FFA story of the LaLiberty family began in 1978 when Frank and Mary Jane decided that they wanted to raise their children in a small Montana community. So, with one child in tow and one on the way they moved to Bozeman so that Frank could go back to school to obtain a degree in Agricultural Education. Frank’s first teaching job lasted 3 years in Absarokee, Montana. Then it was on to Cascade, where with a total of 4 children, he spent 32 years teaching Ag and Junior High science. Frank had no experience with FFA, so owes a lot of his success to the guidance of existing teacher Duane Gebhardt and the teacher he replaced, George Franko.
Frank had success with several teams achieving state titles and many of those teams were also successful placing at the national level. The highlight of the competitive teams was the 1998 Agriculture Mechanics team that was the first team from Montana to win a national contest. The highlight of FFA Leadership occurred in 1992 when Frank had to take the national stage with Randy Bogden who was being honored as the Regional Star in Agribusiness.
The 4 LaLiberty children each had outstanding careers in FFA. They accounted for 15 individual championships in Career Development Events, several team championships, and many top 3 placings. LaLiberty children were also on 5 state winning Parliamentary Procedure teams. All 4 of the children placed in the top 2 in the state sweepstakes area for combined placings in events. The State Fair contests always had LaLiberty children competing. They were very successful in the soils and range areas and were competitive in livestock judging.
They were also very active in the Montana Range Days program. Seth and Joel won the Top Hand award and all 4 placed in the top 3 several times. Range Days used to serve as the family’s summer vacation with all 4 children competing, Frank coached the FFA team, and Mary Jane drove the bus.
The LaLibertys also accounted for many top 10 placings at national competitions including Seth was on a second-place mechanics team, Leah was on a 4th place Sales team as a 3rd place individual. Leah also was a national runner-up in the national Agriscience competition.
Leah began the LaLiberty success in the leadership areas by becoming the State Star Greenhand in 1993. All 4 of the LaLibertys were awarded the State Farmer Degree, and all 4 applied for State Office. Luke and Leah were successful candidates; Leah as State Parliamentarian, and Luke as 4th Vice President. Mary Jane was always there to support Frank and the children. She was also awarded the Honorary State degree.
All 4 LaLiberty children have continued to work with FFA since high school graduation. All except Seth (due to absence for military service) have worked with their local chapters. Leah and Joel been involved with the leadership camp at Highwood as a counselor and as a speaker. Luke was instrumental in getting an Ag Education and FFA program started in East Helena. Luke and Leah have worked with the State Officer nomination committee for the past 8 years. They were both awarded the Honorary State FFA Degree for their work.
Frank worked in Agricultural Education and FFA until his retirement in 2014. He still helps with judging CDE events at the local and state level.
As you can see, each legacy family leaves their mark in different ways. Frank and Mary Jane did it through direct contact with the FFA students, and they continue to have that impact through the service of their children.
If you have a story idea or something you want to learn more about, give Randy a call at 406-788-3003 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org