A Future Farmer of America

October 24, 2013
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“Learning to do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” This is the National FFA Organization’s Motto. Not only is this motto the base of this organization, but it is the backbone that holds its members together. Being a Future Farmer of America is a special opportunity. Although FFA is known countrywide, not everyone has the chance to participate and some have never heard of it. “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”
As a middle school student, I had looked forward joining FFA when I got to high school. I remember when Western’s FFA Chapter would come visit Hamersville I would be ecstatic. I wanted to be a part of the group more than anything. Once my eighth grade year rolled around, I could not wait to leave Hamersville and move up in the world as a high school student. When we were handed our enrollment forms to choose our elective classes; I did not waste a second and checked FFA down. I was more excited for FFA than I even was to meet all my new classmates. It was obvious how badly I wanted to be in this class.
When the high school hosted their “Move it Up Day,” I practically ran into the building to get my schedule. When the secretary held my schedule out to me, my heart dropped. I scanned my schedule over 12 times and realized that FFA was missing. I had no idea what to do. I knew that FFA was a hard class to get into because so many upcoming freshmen wanted in it. I felt like my world had shattered right then and there. The rest of the day we went through every classroom and met every teacher we would have that year. While all the other students took the sights in, I couldn’t help but be in a whole other world, daydreaming of how everything had gone wrong.
As our tour took us closer and closer to the FFA room, I got more and more jittery. When we approached the classroom, I was almost in tears. I kept looking around, knowing I would not be able to sit in one of those desks or listen to one of Mr. Griffith’s speeches. While we were touring the room and shop, I ran into a senior member of FFA that I knew well. I showed her my schedule and explained my problem. As soon as I was finished telling her, she tore the schedule out of my hand and ran it up to Mr. Griffith. At this moment my heart was pounding and I had a lump in my throat the size of an orange. I was crossing my fingers and praying that somehow, someway, I would be able to get into the class.
After five minutes of my friend talking to Mr. Griffith, she ran back over with a huge smile on her face. She explained to me that Mr. Griffith said the classes were full, but she had begged him and he agreed to talk to the counselors about putting me in the class. I was so happy I almost cried. I gave her the biggest hug possible, and my day was made. I thanked her over a million times before we left to finish our tour. I was on cloud nine the rest of the day and I couldn’t stop smiling.
My freshman year of FFA was my most successful year. I was involved in almost every CDE and activity that our chapter held. A CDE, or Career Development Event is something that FFA offers for its members. They are competitions that can be Chapter, Sub-District, District, or Statewide. All of the activities are driven to motivate you, force you to be more independent, create teamwork, enhance your leadership skills, build up your public speaking abilities, and much more.
Since I was so involved, my freshman year was a very busy year. I was highly motivated and I wanted to be involved in as much as I possibly could. One of the very first CDE’s that I participated in was Job Interview, a mock interview where you are interviewed and judged to see how good your interviewing skills are. I got to pick what job I wanted to apply for, so I chose an Assistant Pet Groomer. I had to fill out an application, write a cover letter, go through the interview process, and then write a follow up letter. I was a nervous wreck.
As the date for the Chapter Job Interview Contest grew closer, I practiced harder. I filled out five applications every day and wrote dozens of cover and follow up letters. I wanted to be as prepared as possible. When the day of the contest arrived, I felt sick. I was so nervous, but at the same time I felt very confident. I knew that I had everything memorized perfectly, I was just nervous about the interview. As I walked into the contest, I filled out my application and cover letter, and felt super confident about them both. When my name was called, I marched into the room as self-assured as I could possibly be. After my interview, I was filled with excitement. I felt so confident about the contest.
Finally, everyone finished the contest and we were sent back to the FFA room. After about 30 minutes of sitting in the room, anxiously waiting for the results, Mr. Griffith walked in. I held my breath as he started to read off the names of the winners. When he announced my first place, I was so delighted. Everyone was congratulating me and I was ecstatic. I felt like I was on top of the whole world. I knew my hard work would pay off and it did. I went on to District contest and won first place, then to State where I placed third. Mr. Griffith was so proud of me and I was so glad to represent my chapter in the State Competition.
The next CDE that I was involved in was the Creed. The FFA creed is a five paragraph speech that must be given by each freshman member to receive their Greenhand Degree. The contest is basically public speaking. You must memorize the creed and speak it to a line of judges. You are judged on speech, speed, performance, confidence, and the tone in which you deliver it. This CDE was my biggest and most important one. I spent countless hours saying it into a mirror and speaking it while I cleaned my room. Mr. Griffith and Lara Staples believed that I could win state. They helped and encouraged me every day.
Once Chapter Creed contest rolled around, I was feeling extremely confident. I stepped into the room full of judges and blew them away. I was so proud of myself. Once the results were out, I got first. I couldn’t wait to go on to Sub-Districts. I took first in Sub-Districts and then first at Districts. The whole way through both of those contests, Lara and Mr. Griffith stayed after school, came in on Sundays, and helped me during class. Without them, I wouldn’t be the speaker I am today.
I had Chapter, Sub-Districts, and Districts under my belt. Now it was time for State. After days and days of practice, I was ready. When I walked into the room on State Contest day, I was ready to win. I gave it my best shot and did everything I could to make sure my speech was absolutely perfect. When the results were being told, I was sure I had it. I had practiced so long and hard, I felt like I deserved first place. When I was told I got fourth, I almost cried. My heart was broken. I felt like all my hard work had gone right down the drain. I didn’t know what I had done wrong. Even though Mr. Griffith had wanted me to win badly, he congratulated me and supported me anyway.
After the loss at State, I lost much of my confidence. I still wanted to be involved in FFA, but I wasn’t as ready to be in a competition again as I had been before. I had a few more CDE’s after the Creed that I was involved in, but none of them were individual contests. I participated in Parliamentary Procedure, where I served as the Secretary. I was also involved in Dairy Cattle Judging, and my team went to State. At the end of the year, I was awarded the Star Greenhand, which meant I was the most involved and outstanding freshman from our chapter. I was so happy to receive this award. I came home from our end of the year banquet with so many trophies and plaques.
At the end of the year, looking back, our chapter had been VERY successful. Everything was perfect and we couldn’t wait to start a new year. I was voted in as a Committee Chair and I was pumped to help out as a sophomore. All of our happiness was torn away from us after we got the news. Mr. Griffith was being “laid off,” which pretty much meant he was being fired. He had all of the officers come to a meeting, and through many tears, he broke the news to us. We all cried and hugged each other for two hours in the FFA classroom that night. All of our hearts were broken and torn. We didn’t know what to do or where to go after this.
Mr. Dyer was the shop teacher. He is an older gentleman who had always seemed very nice to me. Once news came around that he was going to take Mr. Griffiths spot, everyone was unsure how the next few years would turn out for our chapter. None of us knew Mr. Dyer, and we all knew he wasn’t anything that Mr. Griffith was. None of us were happy with Mr. Dyer for taking Mr. Griffith’s place, even though it wasn’t his fault. We were all sour at the start of the next year because even though Mr. Dyer was a nice man, he wasn’t our Griff. We wanted it to be back to the chapter it used to be, but then we realized it would never be back that way ever again.
Looking back on that year now, I am ashamed at the way I acted toward Mr. Dyer that year. I never once said or did anything unkind to him, but inside I was always dogging him in any way possible, just because nothing was how I wanted it. I’m glad I found my way out of that stage and into the one I am in now. I see how Mr. Dyer pours his heart into us as students. He cares for each and everyone one of us like were his own. He strives to make us all better FFA members and he fights to get us back to the chapter we used to be. He is a driven man and I don’t know where I would be without him.
The past three years with Mr. Dyer have been amazing. I have been the Secretary, First and Third Runner up for Brown County Fair Queen, and I am currently the Vice President of our chapter. FFA has changed my life in so many ways. Without this class, I would not be a confident public speaker. I would not have met the many people who have had such an impact on my life. Trying to condense my love for FFA down to six pages is difficult. For me, it is so hard to define. FFA has been a HUGE part of my life for four years, and I plan to stay involved with it for as long as I can. I wish everyone could experience the amazing things this organization offers and create all the memories like I have the past four years. Without FFA, I would not be the person that I am today.

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