Thursday, May 30, 2013

85th Kansas FFA Convention Day 2 filled with Awards, Music and Motivation

Day two of the 85th Kansas FFA Convention comes to an end after three exciting jam packed sessions of recognizing the successes of chapters and individuals in the past year and listening to the powerful messages from Greg Peterson of the Peterson Farm Brothers, K-State Linebacker, Tre Walker and charismatic motivational speaker, Harriet Turk.

Second Session
Enthusiastic FFA members flooded McCain Auditorium with blue and gold for the second session which announced the 2013-2014 State Officer Candidates. Several chapters were recognized with awards from Kansas Farm Bureau and Farm Credit for their positive impacts on their respective communities. All were attentive as 2012-2013 State Sentinel, Denver Johnston, gave his retiring address, “Self Doubt”. 

The 2012 American Degree recipients were celebrated for their accomplishments and the Kansas Cooperative Testing Travel Awards were presented, along with the the top 10 individuals and top 5 chapters in the Leadership Information Test and KAAE Essay award winners. The top individual Agri-Entrepreneurship Education Program, designed to increase the amount of entrepreneurship being taught in local agriculture programs across the country, was announced.

Countless FFA Members walked across the stage as State Proficiency Award Winners from Ag Communications to Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management.

After the session was adjourned, the Extemporaneous and Prepared Speaking Finals were held in the K-State Alumni Center and Proficiency winners enjoyed their award luncheon.

Third Session
Session three hit a high note for FFA members as they listened to the compositions of the FFA State Band and Choir. State Proficiency winners continued to parade the stage, accepting their awards for their hard work. Next, retiring State Secretary, Chelsey Smith, presented her address to the members “Cultivate a Sustainable Life." 

Scrapbook records followed, along with Job Interview winners. Tre Walker, Linebacker for the Kansas State Wildcats offered encouragement to members through a unique and energetic speech. Several scholarships were awarded to outstanding FFA members by corporations such as Cargill, Ford, and National FFA.  

After closing, members made their way to meet the State Officer candidates and enjoy an ice cream social.

Fourth Session
FFA members filled McCain one last time on this particular Thursday night and were welcomed by “Unstoppable," the retiring address of Vice President, Glendolyn Neely. 

Honorary FFA Degrees were awarded to those few, selfless folks that have made a powerful impact on Kansas FFA and its members. The current state officers recognized all the hard work their parents have done to get them this far. The Extemporaneous and Prepared speakers took the stage to find out their final placings. 

Keynote speaker, Harriet Turk, moved students with his seminar and let students know that they need to be who they want to be.

The last day of the 85th Convention will kick off early morning with the Convention Business Session, recognition of student achievement and election of the 2013-2014 State FFA Officers. Friday afternoon will feature the recognition of Kansas FFA Foundation Sponsors, the “Stars over Kansas” Pageant,  presentation of the Triple Crown award and installment of the new Kansas FFA State Officer Team and the retirement of the past State Officer Team. After the sixth session, the Blue & Gold Banquet will be held at the Beach Museum of Art for convention volunteers, State Stars, and retiring and newly elected state officers, as well as their families.

Kansas FFA members participate in State FFA Chorus

A select group of FFA members use their musical abilities to entertain members and guests at the 85th Kansas FFA Convention this week on the Kansas State University campus.

In order to participate in these select ensembles, members were required to submit audition tapes and recommendations from their local music instructors.

The chorus was directed by Zac Malcolm, Clay Center Community High School and accompanied by Sharon Kriss. They performed two concerts during the convention May 29-31.

Members of the State FFA Chorus are as follows: Atwood: Nicolette Nemeth, Isabella Skolout; Chapman: Christina Hoffman, Sarah Johnson, Kyler Langvardt; Coffeyville: Aubri Zogg; Ellis: Alexis Mattheyer, Sam Polifka; Eudora: Baillie Beebe, Samantha Carpenter; Fairfield: Anna Schwertfeger, Josie Zink; Fredonia: Danielle Comstock, William Lane; Great Bend: Erin Bowers, Melanie Maneth, MacKenzie Thornburg, ; Hill City: Kathryn Haffner; Holton: Victoria Kimbrough, Tristan Parks; Hugoton: Nickolas Evans, Baxter Self; Marais des Cygnes Valley: Ashleigh Berry, Bonni Berry, Electra Massey; Minneapolis: Paden Kindall; Northern Valley: Carson Montgomery, Khrissanna Van Patten; Republic County: Courtney Anderson, Laura Mead, Lane Shoemaker, Jesy Strnad; Sabetha: Michael Baumgartner; Scott City: Jenne Davis; Uniontown: Rachel DeMoss, Hannah Fry, Stephanie Robinson, Aleah Sutterby, Sarah Townsend; Washington County: Nick L’ Ecuyer; West Franklin: Lacy Altic, Sierra Jones; Wilson: Kristina Heinrich, Janell Ptacek.

National Chapter Awards-Chapter Development

The National Chapter Awards for Chapter Development, Sponsored by SouthWestern Association-Western Farm Show, Gold Division are as follows:

Arkansas City
Hill City
Jayhawk Linn
Mission Valley
Southwestern Heights

CDE Winners to Represent Kansas at National Convention

Congratulations to the FFA members and chapters who here honored for their success in CDE’s and other competitive events during the first two days of the 85th Kansas FFA Convention.

Winners were recognized on stage as follows:
  • Prepared Public Speaking: Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline FFA
  • Extemporaneous Public Speaking: Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard FFA
  • Creed Speaking:  Clara Wicoff, Iola FFA
  • Ag Issues: Hill City FFA
  • Quiz Bowl: Girard FFA
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Winfield FFA
  • Job Interview: Lindy Bilberry, Garden City FFA
  • Scrapbook: Smith Center FFA
Congratulations, and good luck at National Convention!

CDE Results

Prepared Public Speaking CDE results:

1st-Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline FFA
2nd-Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard FFA
3rd-Kaitlyn Dinges, Ness City FFA
4th-Samantha Graves, Ellis FFA

Extemporaneous Speaking CDE results:

 1st-Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard FFA
2nd-Andrew Flax, Western Plains FFA
3rd-Jaley Jensen, Southeast of Saline FFA
4th-Jacob Brubaker, Cheylin FFA

Job Interview CDE results:

1st-Lindy Bilberry, Garden City FFA
2nd-Casey Adams, Chapman FFA
3rd-Sarah Johnson, Chapman FFA
4th-Cassie Homan,Winfield FFA 
5th-Bethany Holsinger, Labette County FFA 
6th-Karen Schneck, Lawrence Free State FFA

Scrapbook award winners:

1st-Smith Center FFA 
2nd-Cherryvale FFA 
3rd-Wilson FFA 
4th-Centre FFA 
5th-Girard FFA 
6th-Marysville FFA

Distinguished Service Award, VIP Award, and Honorary Kansas FFA Degrees

The Kansas FFA organization relies on the support of exceptional teachers, individuals and companies to provide life-changing experiences for its members. We honor those who have made outstanding contributions to FFA with Distinguished Service award, VIP award and Honorary Kansas FFA Degrees each year at the State FFA Convention. This year is no exception.

Distinguished Service Award

Wick Buildings
Wick Buildings has been a long-term partner to Kansas State FFA and generously donated and built the new Agricultural Education Building on the State Fairgrounds. Their donation provides more space for Kansas FFA members to education thousands of visitors that attend the state fair every year. The new building houses the Grand and Reserve Champion animals, agricultural mechanics projects, a greenhouse, and space for FFA chapters to display presentations about the agricultural industry.

Midwest Ford Dealers
Since 2008, the Kansas FFA Association and Foundation have enjoyed a robust relationship with Kansas Ford Dealerships through our Midwest Ford Dealer sponsor partnership.  Annually, Midwest Ford Dealers provided monetary support to help members grow in our Environmental & Natural Resource Proficiency Award, Washington Leadership Conference Scholarships, and the Foundation’s Blue & Gold Golf Scramble. In addition, more than 50 community Ford Dealership have sponsored $286,000 in Built Ford Tough scholarships for Kansas FFA members over the past five years. This past winter the Midwest Ford Dealers gifted the Kansas FFA Foundation a new 2012 Ford F150 XLT Series truck to use during State Officer visits, business and industry tours, and other Association & Foundation events. We are proud to accept this gift and look forward to driving many miles with our Midwest Ford Dealer partners.  

VIP Award

Dr. Michael Dikeman
As a Meat Science Professor at Kansas State University as well as the State CDE Coordinator for Meat Evaluation, Dr. Dikeman is committed to educating students about meat science and animal agriculture. Sharing his knowledge with Kansas FFA members has given many the opportunity to grow as they compete in high caliber competition. His dedication to Kansas FFA is apparent through his many years of service and his service as a member of the Career Development Committee.

Honorary Kansas FFA Degrees

Lee Boley
As the father of three former FFA members, Lee Boley has been a longtime supporter of Kansas FFA. He has worked countless years establishing a network of opportunities not only for his own children, but also for other members while in high school and beyond at the state level. In recent years, Boley has been instrumental in helping the KAAE and the FFA get priority seating at the annual Prayer Breakfast, hosted by the governor, which has proved invaluable in our advocacy efforts for Agricultural Education and the FFA.

Alan Boltinghouse
An agricultural education instructor at Girard High School and this year’s Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators’ president, Alan Boltinghouse is dedicated to the personal growth of all agriculture education students in Kansas. It is because of his dedication that all of FFA members have positive experiences filled with growth and development of both personal and career skills to prepare them  for successful futures.

Sandra Kingston
Sandra Kingston, a longtime supporter of the Washington County FFA chapter, has served in nearly every capacity of leadership and support for many activities of the FFA program. As the wife of an agricultural instructor and FFA adviser, she has helped numerous FFA members from around the state grow towards their full potential.

As a testimony to her countless years of self service, Kingston personally sponsored the Annual FFA Chapter’s Faculty/Staff Appreciation Breakfast and donated the entire funding necessary to make the event possible for the past several years.

Meghan Mueseler
Meghan Mueseler, an alumni of Sabetha FFA Chapter, has given years of service back to the Kansas FFA both personally and professionally. As an employee of Cargill Meat Solutions, Mueseler and her colleagues established the Cargill Blue Jacket Grant Fund with the Kansas FFA Foundation in 2010. Grant dollars gifted by Cargill Meat Solutions employees allow Kansas FFA members that are experiencing a financial hardship to purchase a new official jacket. Personally, Mueseler serves as a Foundation Trustee and has dedicated her time and service to help members experience opportunities to grow through FFA.

Denny Stoecklein
As the general manager of the Kansas State Fair since 2003, Denny Stoecklein spends countless hours ensuring that all aspects of the state fair run smoothly.  His dedication and commitment to Kansas FFA  provide members with the opportunity to showcase their talents and educate others about the agricultural industry.

Pat Wiederholt
Pat Wiederholt, a Trustee of the Kansas FFA Foundation, is a Kansas FFA alumni that has dedicated several years of service to Kansas FFA. He currently serves as the Chairman of the Kansas FFA Foundation and often serves as a judge at East Central District Career Development Events.

As the Chairman of the Board/CEO of Flint Hills Banks in Hartford, Wiederholt has been committed to raising funds for Kansas FFA which has provided numerous FFA members to grow and develop their leadership skills.

Glendolyn Neely delivers State Vice Presidents retiring address


It was the state fair horse show and I was getting ready to run barrels. The fast time of the day had been set and I knew if we were going to beat it I would have to be Unstoppable. I struggled to get my horse into the arena and to our starting point, but once there I let all my nerves go. Going around the first barrel I felt it bump my leg. I quickly picked my leg up so we wouldn’t knock it over causing me to lose my stirrup. After making it around the second barrel my horse was running hard going into the third when all of suddenly he slowed down to turn and threw me forward. I went to sit back up and realized my shirt was caught on the saddle horn, at that moment the only thought going through my head was I am going to die. As we turned the third barrel I slid off to the side of my horse but l kept pushing my horse forward all the way across the timer until we almost took out the gate. When we got stopped I pulled myself back up into the center of my horse just to hear my time being announced. I could not have been happier. For that particular run to be successful it took me knowing who I am as a rider, it took some risks, and even when it was a disaster waiting to happen I never gave up. Knowing that I had just rode my horse similar to a monkey riding a dog and still survived, I felt as if I was unstoppable.

Knowing who we are, taking risks, and never giving up are three essential keys to barrel racing and life. But when they are all combined they make us unstoppable.

A few years ago, I started one of the biggest journeys of my life; the journey to find me. Back in high school, I thought I knew EVERYTHING about myself. My future would consist of going to Pitt State to major in nursing and riding and training horses. I was surrounded by all the friends a girl could need, and my parents helped me with all my difficult life decisions……My self-perception could not have been more wrong. Somewhere along the way, I changed my mind and ended up at K-State. This is where I learned finding who I am is a lot more challenging and complicated than it sounds. My least favorite question at this time was: Glendolyn what do you plan on doing with your life?.....How was I suppose to answer that question when I didn’t know what I wanted to major in, I was homesick because I hadn’t been involved in anything, I had very few friends around me, and the answer of being a princess no longer worked. I was quickly losing interest in my surroundings and my confidence was starting to plummet.

The soul searching for who the real Glendolyn is had to begin; and quick.  The exploration began by surrounding myself with a diverse group of people, discovering different opportunities, and a lot of reflection on where I wanted to be 15 years down the road. I started narrowing my thoughts down one by one – it was like a word search; with each word I found, it added to the definition of who I am as a person, what I believe in, and where I want my future to take me. A few words I have found that define me include believer and achiever. I tend to stay strong in my beliefs and I want to achieve everything I put my mind to. This word search to find myself will continue on for many years to come.

In such a big world it is extremely important to find who we are as individuals. It starts by asking these simple questions: where have you been? Where are you at? And where do you want your life to take you? Finding ourselves gives us a better understanding of our potentials, our talents, our weaknesses, and how to be unyielding as a person. By trying something that didn’t seem enjoyable, it turned out to be a new favorite hobby, the most interesting class, or the best food ever tasted. We have to step out of our box and try new things. Participate in as many CDE’s as possible, try out for a new sport, or take advantage of several different opportunities. We are all going to feel lost as a person at one time or another, but that is when we decide to look in the mirror, and find our true reflection of who we are and what we expect from ourselves. If we live in the moment and take in our surroundings, we learn more details about ourselves than we ever knew before. Take a moment and think of the perfect word that summarizes you completely as a person: maybe it is charismatic, smart, outgoing, over-achiever, or simplistic…now, does that word also fall into your definition of being unstoppable? It’s not easy to pinpoint the perfect word, but it is a start to discovering the true you. It should be your goal to add a new word to your word search every month. Finding ourselves will instill confidence and allow us to stand more solid in our ideas, morals, and beliefs. But ultimately, it allows us to be unstoppable.

Once we have defined who we are, the next step to becoming unstoppable is to take risks, because without taking risks we will never know what we are capable of.

During my sophomore year of high school, I decided to take the risk of running for a South East District office. I filled out my application, worked with my advisor on interviews, and had my speech memorized forwards and backwards. The day of elections was here. I was confident in my interview and nailed my speech. Finally, they had the results – the slate of the new officers. I sat waiting to hear my name. Sentinel….no Reporter….nuh-huh Treasurer…nope Secretary….that sounds like me, but not my name….And for president. I sat in shock – my risk had not paid off. A little upset I went back home and looked forward to the next year.

Junior year came around and once more I decided to take the same risk. I had failed once but learned a lot in the process. Again, I felt good about my interviews and flawlessly gave my speech. I was so confident – there was no doubt in my mind I would get an office. Slate comes around and I am placed for sentinel – not exactly where I thought I’d be but hey, I made the slate. I gave my speech to the delegates and waited on tabulation. The 2009-2010 South East District Sentinel is….. not Glendolyn Neely. More disappointed than the first time, I went home and decided my FFA career wasn’t meant to be.

A little over a year ago, I took one of the biggest risks of my life in deciding to run for a state office. After unsuccessfully running for a district office, I felt like an underdog, I had work to do, and I had to learn a lot about who I was and why I really wanted the opportunity. The failed risks of running for a district office prepared me for the journey I was about to embark on as a state officer candidate. My risk taking from previous years is what got me to where I am today.

We never know we can’t fly until we try. Taking risks is going to require us to push the limits, step outside of our comfort zones, and take a chance at failure. For some of us that risk may be public speaking – what if I forget my line, what if I stutter, what if – you have to block the what ifs out and be unrelenting. Taking risks is part of everyday life; driving a car could cause a wreck, eating peanuts could cause an allergic reaction, or we could twist an ankle waking down the stairs. Then there are the optional risks; you could run for a Chapter Office, you could try out for the lead role in the skit, or you could travel to somewhere you have never been before. Taking these risks could ultimately lead to bigger and greater things – but how will we know if we never try? A big risk some of you will be taking in the next couple of years is going off to college. We have to leave the comfort of our home, school, and friends to step into a world of what seems like the unknowns. By taking risks and leaving our all so familiar surroundings; you will grow as individual by learning who you are as a person, how you handle new situations, and you might even discover a new passion you weren’t previously aware of. We have taken the risk of joining the FFA, now what about starting an SAE? What if you lose money? What if it turns out to be a complete flop? It’s not about the money or whether you fail or succeed – it’s about the experiences you gain from being a risk taker. It’s hard to take that first step, but once you do, don’t look back, embrace the risk, and be unstoppable.

After we have defined ourselves and taken risks we must vow to never give up as it will truly make us unstoppable

Justin Bieber says never say never and I say never give up. When it comes to never giving up the first person who comes to mind is my grandpa. He had many battles in his lifetime, but he never gave up on his goals or dreams. Grandpa was raised in the depression era, but he never complained how hard it was. He joined the military in World War 2, but never told about the friends he lost. He gave up everything he had to go back to college and finish his education. He raised six children and found a way to financially support them and keep the family farm running, yet no one understood how much work it really took. Even after losing his only son to cancer – he didn’t give up on his family and kept his struggles to himself. Even though grandpa could have walked away from it all when the times were at their toughest and the world was against him, he knew the right thing to do was to never give up.

To him, winning was not success, success was the amount of effort a person puts in. He spent over thirty years of his life getting up to go teach agriculture. There were students who struggled academically, but he never gave up on helping them find their passion in life. As he grew older and frailer, grandpa still fought for his independence and tried to continue caring for his family. Everything he had worked for, cared for, and loved was where he spent his final ounces of strength. No matter the situation, Grandpa always kept fighting, and never gave up.

We are going to fall, we are going to fail, and we are going to be told we can’t do something, but that should not stop us. You don’t drop out of school just because you fail a test. Instead, you go and study harder for the next exam. When you bomb a set of reasons, you don’t just quit judging; you go back to your advisor or coach and continue to practice. Even when things don’t go as planned, there is a benefit from the experience and something new to be learned. What challenges will there be in the upcoming months or years? How will they affect your dedication to not giving up? As agriculturalist, our future is set with obstacles; 9 billion people by 2050, less water, less land and yet we have to produce more food. We see these struggles and face them head on, when one experiment on drought tolerant corn doesn’t work we look for another, we cut down  our water usage in everyday life, and decrease the amount of wasted food. Not giving up is continuously practicing playing a musical instrument, shooting free-throws every day until they consistently swoosh through the net, or staying up all night studying to get an A on an exam. We all have a challenge we are going to have to face; the question is how will you handle it?   By not giving up, we show our character, determination, and dedication. To be a quitter or to never give up – the option is yours to make. My grandpa chose to be unstoppable.

When riding in a barrel racing competition there is nothing like running at full speed and then slowing down just enough to turn the barrel, crossing the finish line, or knowing I just guided 1,100 pounds of pure muscle and adrenaline through a simple cloverleaf pattern. Barrel racing seems so simple, but like many parts of life, knowing just how challenging it can be and accomplishing it makes you unstoppable.  There will be times in our lives when we will lose sight of who we are and what defines us, that is the moment when we must find ourselves as individuals. We will have goals and dreams that cannot be achieved without taking risks. This is when we need to stand up, face the unknown, and be a risk taker. Finally, there are those times when stress and exhaustion will take effect and we will want to quit. We must push through the tough moments, overcome our challenges, and never give up. The race is yours to run; the question is will you be unstoppable?

Finalists announced for John Deere Gator drawing

The pool of Kansas FFA members who could leave the 85th Kansas FFA Convention with a John Deere Gator 625iXUV has been narrowed to 10.
Finalists were selected Thursday night. The winner will be drawn from those names during the Fifth Session of the Kansas FFA Convention, which begins at 9 a.m. Friday. If you're one of the finalists, you must be present to win and report backstage 15 minutes prior to the session.

The finalists are:
Marcus Cox, Chapman

Michael Carpenter, Axtell

Nicholas Goode, Hugoton

Holly Cooper, Clay Center

Robert Jackson, Coffeyville

Tanner Peterson, Centre

Natalie Nelson, Labette County

Jennifer Jackson, Clay Center

Amber Duncan, Coffeyville

Keaton Blevins, Doniphan West

Members eligible to enter the drawing for the Gator 625iXUV were those who submitted an application for the American or State FFA Degree, Agriscience fair, Agri-Entrepreneurship award, Proficiency winners and District Star winners.

Again, one name will be chosen toward the end of the Fifth Session and that person must be present to win!

Thanks to our sponsors:
  • 21st Century Equipment LLC, Leoti, KS
  • American Implement Inc., Garden City, KS
  • Bucklin Tractor & Implement Co. Inc., Bucklin, KS
  • Carrico Implement Co. Inc., Beloit, KS
  • Concordia Tractor Inc., Concordia, KS
  • Great Bend Farm Equipment, Great Bend, KS
  • Hiawatha Implement Co. Inc., Hiawatha, KS
  • Heritage Tractor Inc., Baldwin City, KS
  • Keating Tractor & Equipment Inc., Liberal, KS
  • Landmark Implement, Smith Center, KS
  • O'Malley Equipment Co. Inc., Independence, KS
  • O'Malley Implement Co. Inc., Pittsburg, KS
  • Oregon Trail Equipment, LLC, Marysville, KS
  • PrairieLand Partners Inc., Hutchinson, KS
  • Todd Tractor, Seneca, KS
  • John Deere Agriculture & Turf Division, Olathe, KS 

Chelsey Smith delivers State Secretary's retiring address



Cultivate a Sustainable Life

You shouldn’t go grocery shopping when you are hungry. You are not allowed to dance, apply makeup and drive simultaneously. When making a turn you have to turn into the closest lane to you. Hunting really does mean silence. Belly flops are NEVER a good idea. My favorite:  you really can’t go out into public looking like that. The most needed: It’s 100% okay to be you all the time. The times when you struggle the most are when you will grow the most.  The list of things I wish someone would have told me goes on for eternity ranging anywhere from simple probably common sense things to not so concrete more abstract concepts about liking yourself and accepting what happens in your life.  We have all had that time in our lives when we have done something that didn’t turn out so great and thought “dang, I wish someone would have told me that before.”  
    I am going to name off several things, I want us to think to ourselves if any of these have ever applied to our lives.  
You have ever felt lost with the direction of your life?
You have ever felt like you were struggling?
You have ever felt like you were uncertain about where you will be next?
Ladies and gentleman I could have stood up and waved my hands around for all three of those questions.  Truth is I feel horribly uncertain about not having a direction for my life and usually feel like I am riding the continual struggle bus because of this.
News flash: Uncertainty, struggle and lack of direction are all normal things to experience and most everyone experiences them at some point in their life or another. In order to sustain ourselves as people we have to be okay with who we are and trust all of the struggles that we may go through.  
In high school I was literally known as the girl with brown curly hair who had really good grades and spent most of her time in the ag room.  . I rarely ever allowed myself to be who I am, unless I was in the ag room.  I believe that there was a reason I enjoyed being in the ag room as much as I did because it was the one place where I felt I wasn’t being judged for being who I am
If there is one thing that was repeated to me as a state officer candidate one year ago it was to be myself.  So when I ran for state office I made the first step and was truly myself the entire week. I wanted to be able to serve Kansas FFA the entire year in the same manner that I was elected. I have been nothing more than myself all year long and it has been more than worth it.  
Enthusiastic, bubbly, bold, unique and CRAZY are the words my team mates used to describe me and quite frankly all are perfect descriptors.  Over the last two years at college I have really grown into me. Note the time at a state officer meeting when I gave an entire overly enthusiastic reflection response related to Harry Potter and how I used a lot of the spells and wand to tie into something related to personal growth, or how about all of the times when I just tell it like it is. But usually it is my rather unfashionable dance moves while driving to an event.  
I absolutely love who I am and the fact that some of the closest people in my life, my team mates can accurately describe how I feel about myself.  Whatever it may be I know that I am the happiest person in the world when I am just me.  
    As cliché as it may be we really do just need to embrace who we are as a person and where we are at the point in time in our lives.  If we can be okay with who we, are whether we are loony, clever, hilarious, generous, popular, serious, or wise we will be able to move on with our lives.  Knowing that we are happy with one’s self is a prerequisite to finding happiness with other things in our lives. Accepting where we are at in our lives at this time is the essential element in being happy with ourselves.
    What words describe you?  Are you crazy, loud, energetic, quiet, relaxed, simple, or elaborate? More importantly are you okay with who you are? If not, maybe it is because we haven’t accepted the truth that it is perfectly okay to be who you are, good and bad qualities combined.  Or maybe it is because we are afraid what people might actually think about us.  Have no fear we have all been there.  Think about who you truly are as a person. Now think about the things that you really like about yourself. Build upon the things you like about yourself, maybe it is that you are genuine, and compassionate, or maybe you are loud and enthusiastic. Take the characteristics you like and show them to the rest of the world.  Be 100 percent okay with who you are.  You are the only you, there will ever be. Be the best one you can possibly be.
Once we accept who we are as a person and can express that to the rest of the world.  Accepting ourselves makes it much easier to accept and handle situations that may arise in our lives.  
After spending countless hours, and I mean more than 30, answering questions, responding to essays, and editing my resume and cover letter I had successfully applied to five internships or jobs that I really wanted.  So when I opened my first email informing me that I hadn’t been selected for the position but that they really appreciated my application I was disappointed, but optimistic one of the other opportunities would work out.  So the second, third and fourth rejection letters came and went.  I was still hopeful, the application I worked the hardest on was awaiting a reply. Unfortunately you were not selected as a participant but we thank you for your application, have a safe and productive summer.   I have honestly never experienced so much rejection in a short amount of time.  I have always been used to getting whatever I applied for.  I worked extremely hard on the applications and really thought that all of the opportunities were what I wanted to do with my summer and pursue as a future career.  
Not achieving what I set my sites on really brought me down and made me doubt my abilities as a person.  So I may not be going to Africa this summer or working in St. Joseph Missouri with the American Angus Association but I am the nanny for two very special children this summer who I believe have already changed the way I look at life.  Dr. Suess’s first book was rejected by 27 publishers, Eminem was a high school dropout who had personal struggles with drugs that led to an unsuccessful suicide attempt, Steve Jobs was unceremoniously removed from the company he started.  Everyone, even extremely successful people goes through times when it would be extremely easy to give up and never try again.  
Regardless of how long we may think we have been on the struggle bus we just need to trust that if we continue to work hard things will get better.  We just have to trust that our struggle is going to be worth it someday and that it will help us grow and develop into the people we are destined to become.  
What are we struggling with right now it might be school, work, family, or personal? How can we allow our struggle help us to grow in the future?  Maybe we ended the school year with grades we weren’t so proud of or maybe we are having a hard time finding our friend group.  We need to continue to try and move forward regardless if we are experiencing setbacks. Without perseverance most of us would have never enjoyed the book “Oh, the places you will go” the song “Lose Yourself” would never have been played, and most likely we wouldn’t have the infamous iPhone or iPad. No matter what is going in our lives on we are learning something from it and we will benefit from the experience in the future.  And to me anything learned never went waste.  
In the history of agriculture there have been many times when agriculturalists were uncertain, struggled with the weather or conditions and technology and lacked of direction for the future of production.  Throughout the years they have truly stuck to what they have believed in; feeding themselves and others, and they managed to deal to it all the while going through the great depression and the current drought we are facing in the Midwest.  Without agriculture we wouldn’t be able to be sustained.  When I say that I literally mean that we wouldn’t’ be able to live without agriculture.  If we can apply how agriculture has sustained itself to our lives we can sustain ourselves by accepting who we are and knowing that all of the hard times we ever went through will one day be worth it.  Life isn’t always peaches and roses, in fact sometimes it’s cow poop and barbed wire but if we can choose to be us and embrace the struggles we might face we will be sustained for the future.  Kansas FFA truly be you in each and every moment and trust the struggles you are going through.

State Proficiency Award Winners

Students excelling in their Supervised Agricultural Experience programs were recognized with State Proficiency Awards during the second session of the Kansas FFA convention on Thursday. Winners are as follows:

Agricultural Education
Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard
Sponsored by Larry Gossen Family (State)

Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication
Mike Pieschl, Ell-Saline
Sponsored by Abilene Machine (State)

Agricultural Mechanics Energy Systems
Tyler Schultz, Goessel
Sponsored by Solomon Corporation (State)

Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance – Entrepreneurship
Austin Hiebert, Newton
Sponsored by Heritage Tractor, Inc. (State)

Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance – Placement
Peter Wild, Newton
Sponsored by Heritage Tractor, Inc. (State)
Agricultural Processing
Faith Johnson, Paola
Sponsored by Santa Fe Trail Meats (State)

Agricultural Sales – Placement
Cassandra Homan, Winfield
Sponsored by Kansas Grain Sorghum Commission (State)

Agricultural Services
Ethan Schwarz, Oakley
Sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Kansas (State)

Beef Production – Entrepreneurship
Marcus Cox, Chapman
Sponsored by Schu-Lar Herefords, LLC (State)

Beef Production – Placement
Jacob Cope, Marion-Florence
Sponsored by McPherson County Feeders (State)

Dairy Production – Entrepreneurship
Audrey Schmitz, Axtell
Sponsored by Kansas Farmer Magazine (State)

Dairy Production – Placement
Tanner Gasper, Lakeside
Sponsored by Kansas Dairy Commission (State)

Diversified Agricultural Production
Andrea Mattas, Wilson
Sponsored by Triangle H Grain & Cattle Company (State)

Diversified Crop Production – Entrepreneurship
Claire Bokelman, Washington County
Sponsored by Kansas Corn Commission (State)

Diversified Crop Production – Placement
Andrew Walck, Holcomb
Sponsored by Kansas Crop Improvement Association (State)

Diversified Horticulture
Alexis Coberly, Chapman
Sponsored by Hummert International (State)

Diversified Livestock Production
Rylan Laudan, Paola
Sponsored by McPherson County Feeders (State)

Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management
Gustin Pachta, Republic County
Sponsored by Midwest Ford Dealers (State)

Equine Science – Entrepreneurship
Janell Ptacek, Wilson
Sponsored by Zenger Management (State)

Equine Science – Placement
Jennifer Wisniewski, Paola
         Sponsored by United Mosquito and Fly Control, LLC (State)

Fiber and/or Oil Crop Production
Aaron White, Labette County
Sponsored by Kansas Soybean Commission (State)

Forage Production
Jackson Turner, Holcomb
Sponsored by Kansas Forage and Grassland Council, Inc. (State)

Forest Management and Products
Tyler Kasl, Republic County
Sponsored by Landoll Corporation (State)

Fruit Production
RaeLynn McClelland, Mission Valley
Sponsored by Turner Flowers LLC (State)

Goat Production
Jessica Rudell, Oakley
Sponsored by Riffel Family Show Goats and Animal Health International (State)

Grain Production – Entrepreneurship
Adam Johnson, Chapman
Sponsored by Kansas Wheat Commission (State)

Grain Production – Placement
Drew Miller, Chapman
Sponsored by Kansas Wheat Commission (State)

Home and/or Community Development
Kristina Heinrich, Wilson
Sponsored by Seitz Gift Fruit, Inc. (State)

Landscape Management
Stone Hayden, Chapman
Sponsored by Lawrence Landscape (State)

Outdoor Recreation
Charlie Romero, Labette County
Sponsored by Mr. Larry Lyder (State)

Poultry Production
Ashleigh Shields, Labette County
Sponsored by Cal-Maine Foods Inc. (State)

Sheep Production
Emily Harris, Abilene
Sponsored by Harris Show Lambs (State)

Small Animal Production and Care
Ashley Stewart, Washington
Sponsored by Animal Health International (State)

Specialty Animal Production
Kacy Schlesener, Mission Valley
Sponsored by Prairie School Farms (State)

Swine Production – Entrepreneurship
Skyler Glenn, Scott City
Sponsored by Kansas Pork Association (State)

Swine Production – Placement
Kyle Anderson, Chapman
Sponsored by Kansas Pork Association (State)

Turf Grass Management
Jayce Phelps, Prairie View
Sponsored by Sod Shop Inc. and Mike & Jodi Guetterman (State)

Vegetable Production
Kayla Gore, Lawrence Free State
Sponsored by DuPont Pioneer (State)

Veterinary Science
Jenna Bogner, Labette County
Sponsored by Kansas Veterinary Medical Association (State)

Wildlife Production and Management
Dayton Allen, Mission Valley
                               Sponsored by Kansas Wild Turkey Federation (State)