Last June, I watched Jordan Johns take the stage at the Illinois FFA Convention and deliver five speeches during the state officer elections. Elections are nerve-wracking to watch, let alone participate in, hoping to get another year in the blue jacket serving the state’s membership. But Jordan held steady, calmly sharing her FFA journey with fellow Illinois members. She was elected state FFA treasurer and has served with grace this year. It was a pleasure to meet her again at the Illinois Harvest Dinner last September. She was one of two FFA members who attended and helped connect farm to food for the non-farmer audience. Jordan even rang the dinner bell (see picture). Continue reading →
You met Tyler’s sister earlier this week. His journey to FFA reads much like hers. “We have a very small school district and almost all of the high school student are enrolled in Ag Ed classes and FFA. My family farms and I just knew it was definitely something I was going to get involved in high school.” It was the natural thing to do. Although Tyler’s time as a member has been incredibly rewarding, he is looking forward to becoming an alumni and giving back. Continue reading →
At my first national FFA convention, which was also my first time in official FFA dress, I was Brandon Roop. That was the name embroidered on the right side of the borrowed jacket I wore.
Before my next official event, with permission from my advisor, Mom and I carefully snipped away the gold threads and the town’s seamstress stitched my name in place of Brandon Roop. That was my first ‘official’ FFA jacket. Continue reading →
Carrie Taets Northcott is an FFA Alumni from Annawan, Illinois, who took agriculture classes and joined the organization because of her love of agriculture. Oh, and her dad was the teacher. Her story resonantes with me, particularly her ability to speak to large groups without hesitation. FFA teaches that kind of self-confidence. She is a scientist working in cardiovascular safety at Pfizer. Thank you for sharing your FFA story Carrie! Continue reading →
Brian King (pictured center) is a recent graduate and charter member of the East Burke FFA Chapter. And in the charter year, he placed first in the regional prepared public speaking career development event and participated at the state level. That says something – about Brian and his advisor. Building a program takes time, but with great support from the community, parents and school, students can reap the rewards of FFA immediately. Continue reading →
Faith Stegbauer’s entry to FFA was a given. Her family farms. Her brother was a member (you’ll read about Tyler later this week). Why wouldn’t she join? Her youthful enthusiasm for agriculture and the blue & gold inspires me. Sometimes we adults need to remember that feeling that the world is there for the taking; we just have to be brave enough to take it. Continue reading →
FFA changed the trajectory of my life. I write and speak about it often. In a short four years, the iconic blue jacket took me from a freshman wallflower to a senior student leader. Now 20 years later, I still refer to the simple lessons taught through the FFA. Continue reading →
It’s FFA Week and from the looks of my social media newsfeeds, alumni members are pulling out the photos from days of yore and blue and gold jackets. I sat down to write yet another tribute the organization that changed my life, but instead decided to reshare something I wrote last June. It sums up FFA, its mission and its impact (as in makes a dent) on the lives of students.
Read “What’s In A Jacket?“.
Continue reading →