This year at the 92nd National FFA Convention & Expo, FFA members came from near and far to celebrate everything the organization had to offer. And boy did they deliver — two concerts, the Cinch World’s Toughest Rodeo, the FFA Blue Room, celebrating 50 years of women in FFA, student workshops to help lead the future of agriculture, a new national officer team full of excitement, and SO much more!
One of my favorite parts of the convention was watching the students get excited about their future. The convention and expo had something for everyone. Every year colleges from across the country travel to the national convention and expo to invite high school students to consider attending their university. The college students talk to FFA members about their passions and the possibilities of pursuing them into college. In addition to college booths at the expo, FFA members are also able to meet with members of the U.S. Army. For those students who wish to follow a career using their technical skills, there are also many opportunities. During the expo this year, a lot of exhibits showcased the student’s technical skills with hands-on experiments.
With so many activities going on during the expo, I talked to several FFA members to find out which part of the convention they enjoyed the most. One common answer among the students — the opportunity they had to connect with the other FFA members from across the country and create new friendships.
Some FFA members also took this time to really focus on their future and decide what path they wanted to pursue. Luker Davidson with the Auburn FFA Chapter said, “My favorite part was talking to colleges; now that I am a senior it means more. I got to talk to colleges and really figure out what I want to do. It is a 14-hour bus ride from Alabama to Indiana, the friendships and opportunities really make it worth it.”
In addition to the new friendships, Freddy Ronquillo Alvarez with the Moore FFA Chapter in Oklahoma also celebrated his chapter receiving the highest level of excellence with a 3-star chapter rating. Alvarez said, “It put a lot of joy in my heart to watch our president and vice president walk across the stage. It gave me a feeling that I don’t think anything will be able to replace it.” Their hard work and early mornings in the summer to complete their activities really paid off.
According to the FFA website, “Chapters that receive a gold rating by their state FFA associations are eligible to compete for National FFA 3-star, 2-star or 1-star ratings. Each chapter that competes for these awards will receive a multi-year plaque and a spur designating their 3-star, 2-star or 1-star rating. Chapters that receive a national 3-star chapter rating will be eligible to compete for the National Premier Chapter Awards, Models of Excellence, and Middle School Models of Excellence Awards.”
For so many members, FFA is much larger than the individual. For example, Philomem LaFave with the Mason FFA Chapter in Michigan said, “Our chapter has a national officer, Adrian Schunk. I am looking forward to seeing her retiring address and seeing it come full circle. It has been a source of pride to see a national officer come from our small town.”
As great as it was the watch the FFA members get excited about their future and new friendships, I also caught myself getting excited. I enjoyed seeing the future of agriculture — the future leaders of our industry — start taking the steps to get there, right here at national convention.