Friday, May 30, 2014

Day Three of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention - Friday, May 30

FFA members filled McCain for the last day of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention. Several members anxiously awaited the results of the Triple Crown chapter, State Star winner and State Offices.

Fifth Session

Members were challenged to "Live Your Life" by Treasurer Cody Holiday as he gave his retiring address. After the presentation of the Kansas FFA Foundation Board of Trustees was recognized, Wes Davis, National FFA Vice President, shared some inspiring words with Kansas FFA.

The 239 State Degree Recipients were recognized on stage for their milestone accomplishment within the association. Will Owens of the Labette County FFA Chapter, won the John Deere Gator 625iXUV.

Emily Beneda, chairman of the Nominating Committee reported the 2014-2015 State Officer Slate. Each slated candidate was then given their turn to present their speech to the audience of FFA members and voting delegates.

Sixth Session

The State FFA Band and Chorus filled McCain with their sweet music and melodies during their encore performances. All members thanked the Kansas FFA Foundation Sponsors for their generosity before President Lindy Bilberry retired with her motivating address titled "Savor the Moment."

Chapman FFA received the coveted Triple Crown. The “Stars Over Kansas” pageant continued with the announcement of the 2014 State Stars.

All members were on the edge of their seats as President Lindy Bilberry read the names of the newly elected 2014-2015 Kansas FFA State Officers. The 2013-2014 Officers were officially retired and thanked one last time by the members of Kansas FFA for their dedication to the organization. After the installment of the new officers, President Taylor Green took the podium to present the closing remarks and adjourned the 86th Kansas FFA Convention.

Congratulations to all winners and officers during the convention. See you all next year!

2014 - 2015 Kansas State FFA Officers

After several months preparing, the 2014 - 2015 state officers have been selected. These six individuals were elected among 20 candidates running for a state officer position to represent more than 8,700 Kansas FFA members.

The officer team will travel across the state sharing their passion for agriculture, leadership and service. Kansas FFA officers present workshops and conferences across the state and challenge FFA members to serve their communities and the agriculture industry.

The 2014 - 2015 State FFA Officers are:
  • President: Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline
  • Vice President: Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard
  • Secretary: Jeff Hadachek, Republic County
  • Treasurer: Chantelle Simon, Hill City
  • Reporter: Kyle Apley, Blue Valley
  • Sentinel: Nick Meyer, Marion - Florence

Outstanding FFA members recognized in Stars Over Kansas Pageant

FFA members were awarded the state’s top honors of Kansas FFA Star Farmer, Star in Ag Placement, and Star in Agribusiness during Friday's final session of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention on the Kansas State University campus.

Each year, the Kansas FFA Association recognizes three FFA members who have the top Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) programs with the Star Farmer, Star in Agribusiness and Star in Agriculture Placement awards.

These awards were sponsored by ICM Inc., United Bank and Trust, Kansas Farm Bureau and the Pagent was sponsored by Farm Credit Associations of Kansas.

Star Farmer: Caleb Obermeyer, Marysville FFA
Star in Ag Placement: Tristan Davis, Central Heights FFA
Star in Agribusiness: Stone Hayden, Chapman FFA

Lindy Bilberry delivers State President's retiring address

Lindy Bilberry
2013-2014 President
Garden City FFA

Savor the Moment
One single moment. My life—almost 20 years to be exact—has consisted of over 614 million moments. Some happy—some sad. Some nervous—some mad. Around the world, 4 children are born every second.. and about 2 people die. It takes only a single second for a baseball that left a pitcher’s hand to get hit and fly back to him. In a single moment, a honeybee flaps its wings 200 times. A lot can happen in a moment. Moments… they matter. Are we making the most of our moments? Are we actively engaged in every moment…. Or are they just passing us by? Do we savor every moment? Savor the opportunities. Savor the memories. Choose to make every moment that you savor a good one.

I am a HUGE red dirt country music fan. One of my absolute favorite red dirt bands is Reckless Kelly. In April, Reckless Kelly had a concert in Manhattan and I begged around enough that two of my friends, Emily and Katy, said that they would go with me. On the night of the concert, I could barely stand my excitement. We were some of the first people there and landed ourselves in the front row. As the evening continued, I quickly became acquainted with a young man who was also standing near the front. He noticed that I was singing almost every word along to the songs, and concluded that I must be a pretty big fan. Boy, was he right! However, at one point during the concert he noticed that I was taking a lot of pictures and videos to text and Snapchat to all of my friends. He continually pestered me to put away my phone, so eventually I did. Once I put it into my pocket, he said, “You know, you’re obviously a big fan and are excited to be here. Why aren’t you taking the time to simply enjoy it?” He was right. I LOVE Reckless Kelly. I LOVE concerts. Going to this concert was an item that I could finally cross off of my bucket list. Why was I on my phone instead of enjoying it? At that concert, I only had about two hours—roughly 7200 moments— to take in as much as I could before it was over. I wasn’t taking full advantage of the opportunity that was in front of me, instead I was wasting it behind a cell phone.

In FFA, we get four, sometimes five years to savor the moments and opportunities that we have while wearing the blue jacket. In high school, we get four years. In life, we could get twenty… forty… sixty… eighty years. We never know, but the inevitable truth is that all of these things eventually come to an end. Are we spending so much time focused on one thing, like me on my phone at that concert, that we aren’t enjoying the things that are around us before they come to that end? Do we focus so much on the end result that we aren’t enjoying the moments that get us there? What’s holding us back from living in the moment—from taking advantage of opportunities? Each moment is what we make of it, so we should take advantage of every opportunity that we are presented with. Lots of these are opportunities that we may never be presented with again… so we had better make the best use of them while we can. Savor the moment by savoring the opportunities. My dad was active in his FFA chapter in Post, Texas and a few times I’ve asked him about his experiences. He’s always told me stories about the ugly green pants he wore with his OD, the time his district voted down letting girls in FFA (how did that one work for ya, dad?), and playing his guitar for members. Not once did he ever mention a plaque. Not once did he ever mention a medal. But a year or two ago, I was cleaning out a storage closet that we have in our barn and ran across some of my dad’s things from high school. In this dusty old box were medals, plaques, record books… looking in that box, it became clear to me that if there was an award or honor to be won, my dad had probably won it. Yet, when my dad told me about his FFA career, that’s not what he told me about. Reflecting back on that dusty box makes me think that I approached my time in this organization—and in high school in general—all wrong. If you looked up high school Lindy Bilberry in the dictionary you would find overachiever, public speaker, 4.0 GPA, distinguished senior, plaques, medals, accolades… the list goes on and on. My happiness hinged upon results. My FFA career was no different. As recently as a year ago, if you would have asked me about my favorite FFA experiences, my response would have sounded more like a resume than a story. I would have told you about winning a few state championships in public speaking and how cool it was to talk across the stage as a National CDE finalist. I would tell you about honored I was receiving plaques and metals from banquets and competitions and how it felt to ‘win’ the election of chapter and district president a couple of times.

For four years, my time in our Organization was defined by my success in the blue jacket. If I could go back and tell myself one thing, I would tell myself to focus a lot less on the competition and a lot more on the people and things going on around me. How many opportunities passed me by because I was so focused on doing well? I had it all wrong. My dad—he has it right. The medals and plaques… they ended up in a box in a closet. But the memories… those are what have lasted him a lifetime. It is so easy to get caught up in the competition—the thrill of the chase—the adrenaline of a win. But do we get so caught up in winning that we aren’t enjoying the things around us? Meeting new people? Making memories? Are we willing to keep going in that CDE, sport, class, activity, just because we love it—not because we have to win? Winning is great and all, but if we don’t win, it’s not the end of the world. In life, we’re not always going to get a plaque or a medal if we do great work, but what we can do is create memories along the way. I used to define my time in this jacket by the things I could hang on a wall or put on display… but this year—the year I didn’t win anything—has been my best FFA year yet because of the memories I’ve made and the relationships I’ve developed. Those, not my successes, are what I will tell my kids about my time in FFA. Savor the moments by savoring the memories, not the accolades. A year and a half ago, my neighbor, youth group leader, and most importantly my friend Charlie Drussel was involved in an accident in his shop that literally caught his body on fire. After spending over two months in a coma, Charlie woke up to find that he had lost two months of his life and two things that most of us find pretty important—his legs. Take a second to think about how that would make you feel. You wake up without a clue where you are, without a clue that you’re missing two legs, without a clue that two months of your life have passed by without you even knowing it. Your entire life has revolved around farming and racing and engines and mentoring young people… then all of the sudden, without a warning or a choice, that’s all been stripped away from you. If it was me, I would have been angry. I would have been furious at my situation and resentful of my life, been angry with God even. But Charlie—you’ll never catch him without a smile on his face, sharing his testimony with anybody who will listen. Charlie believes his life is a blessing and his joy… it’s contagious. How many times do we let our days be ruined by little things—not acing a test, someone cutting us off on the highway, dripping food on our favorite jeans, a friend talking about us behind our back, that cute boy or girl who doesn’t seem to notice us or ABCDXYZ the list goes on and on? If Charlie can keep a smile on his face while facing a seemingly nightmarish circumstance, what excuse do the rest of us have? Folks, I hate to tell you this, but life will not always be a cake-walk. We all face difficulties—big and small. The difference between Charlie and the majority of the rest of us? His attitude. Charlie understands that in life, we only get so many moments—and they are made worth living by making the conscious decision that those moments will be good ones, not bad ones. When we’re faced with what seems like a monster of a problem—whether it’s not acing a test, someone cutting us off on the highway, dripping food on our favorite jeans, a friend talking about us behind our back, that cute boy or girl who doesn’t seem to notice us or ABCDXYZ or even having our world flipped completely upside down like Charlie did—let’s be ready to battle them. When it seems like it’s not going to get better, let’s smile and fight through it. How much better would our world be if we all chose to have good moments as opposed to bad ones? Savor the moments by choosing to make them good ones.

Over the past year, I’ve had the opportunity to savor some incredible moments with FFA members from across our state. I can’t thank you enough for letting me be a part of some of the moments in your lives. When I think about what makes this Organization—this blue jacket—so special it’s the moments that we get to savor while we wear our National Blue corduroy. From the time we zip up our jacket for the first time until the moment we hang it up for the last time we spend some of the most pivotal moments of our lives in them—we laugh in these jackets, we cry in these jackets. Our members serve communities, step up as leaders, and make a difference in these blue jackets. We win—we lose—we work hard—we grow up—we find ourselves all while wearing the blue jacket. In these jackets we are a family… in these jackets we stand together for a common cause—it’s in these jackets that we ‘believe in the future of agriculture’ and ‘practice brotherhood and honor agricultural opportunities and responsibilities’ in these blue jackets we ‘develop those qualities of leadership which an FFA member should possess.’ We learn to ‘be courteous to everyone, just in our dealings, and above all, honest and fair in the game of life’ all while wearing the blue jacket. In these jackets, we get to savor some of the best memories and moments that we will ever know. Wearing this jacket gave me moments that changed my life—and I hope that the same is true for you. How can you make the most of your moments? Savor the opportunities—savor the memories whether you win or not—choose to make every single moment you can savor a good one. For 157 million of my approximately 614 million moments on this planet, I’ve gotten the chance to be a member of this blue jacketed family. These are the moments that I will savor for the rest of my life. Kansas FFA, savor the moment!

State Degree Winners

The State Degree is the highest honor the Kansas FFA Association can bestow upon its members. In order to achieve this award, members must meet the following requirements: have received their Chapter FFA Degree, been an FFA member and agricultural education student for at least two years, earned at least $2,000 or worked 600 hours in their Supervised Agricultural Experience program, have given a six minute speech about agriculture or FFA, participated in eight different leadership activities, received a “C” average or better in high school and shown a record of outstanding leadership and community involvement.

2013 - 2014 Kansas FFA State Officer team complete year of service

The 2013 - 2014 Kansas FFA State Officer team completed their year of service today with the conclusion of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention on the Kansas State University campus. The team presented workshops and speeches challenging high school students to serve their community in the spirit of this year’s convention theme, “Ignite.”

Outgoing officers include President Lindy Billberry, Garden City FFA; Vice President Carrie Carlson, Centre FFA; Secretary Chance Hunley, Riverton FFA; Treasurer Cody Holliday, Jackson Heights; Reporter Daryl Simmons, Minneapolis; and Sentinel Elizabeth Allen, Holton FFA.

After being elected in May 2013, the team spent the past year traveling across the state sharing their passion for leadership, service and agriculture.

All six will be students at Kansas State University in the fall. Bilberry will be a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Business, Carlson will be a sophomore majoring in Bakery Science, Hunley will be a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Communications, Holliday will be a sophomore majoring in Agricultural Education, Simmons will be a junior majoring Agricultural Business and Allen will be a sophomore double majoring in Agricultural Economics and Animal Science.

Day Two of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention - Thursday, May 29

Day two of the 86th 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 of keynote speakers, Shalee Lehning and Curtis Childers.

Second Session
Enthusiastic FFA members flooded McCain Auditorium with blue and gold for the second session in which the 2014-2015 State Officer Candidates were announced. 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 2013-2014 State Reporter, Daryl Simmons, gave his retiring address, “Rock Your World.”

The 2013 American Degree recipients were celebrated for their accomplishments. The top 10 individuals and top 5 chapters in the Leadership Information Test and KAAE Essay award winners were also announced

Several FFA Members walked across the stage as State Proficiency Award Winners from Landscape Management to Swine Production. 

After the session was adjourned, the Agriscience Fair Conference judging took place in McCain Auditorium, 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 Chorus. State Proficiency winners continued to parade the stage, accepting their awards for their hard work. Next, retiring State Vice President, Carrie Carlson, presented her address, “Why Me," to the members.  

Scrapbook winners were revealed along with Job Interview winners. Scrapbook winners were Cherryvale, Centre, Girard, Great Bend, Mission Valley, Marysville. In addition, advisors of state officers were recognized. Shalee Lehning, former Kansas State Wildcats basketball and WNBA player, empowered the audience with her captivating motivational speech. 

Several scholarships were awarded to outstanding FFA members by corporations such as Washington Leadership Conference, Orscheln, Ford and National FFA.

After closing ceremonies, 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 for the final Thursday session and were welcomed by “Voices," the retiring address of Chance Hunley. 

Honorary FFA Degrees were awarded to those selfless folks who 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 speaking finalists took the stage to find out their final placings. Extemporaneous speaking winner is Jamie Wall and prepared public speaking winner is Bethany Schifferdecker.

To wrap up the evening, keynote speaker, Curtis Childers, a former Texas FFA President and National FFA President moved students with his inspiring story about the choices you make.

Convention continues tomorrow with recognition of the state FFA degree recipients, Triple Crown winner and the new state officer team will be announced.

Chapters honored for National Chapter Award - Chapter Development

The National Chapter Awards for Chapter Development, Sponsored by SouthWestern Association-Western Farm Show, Gold Division are as follows:
  • Arkansas City
  • Buhler
  • Chapman
  • Clay Center
  • Ellsworth
  • Girard
  • Goessel
  • Hays
  • Hill City
  • Holton
  • Jayhawk Linn
  • Louisburg
  • Marysville
  • Mission Valley
  • Riverton
  • Southwestern Heights

Kansas FFA Association thanks 2014 sponsors

All the events FFA members participate in and the entire Kansas FFA State Convention would not be possible without the support of all of our generous sponsors. We want to thank them for their investment in the youth and the future of agriculture. Please help us show our support of these vital partners.

2014 - 2015 State Officer Slate

Emily Beneda, immediate past State FFA President and member of the Nominating Commitee announced the slate for 2014-2015 State Officers during the fifth session of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention.

The slate is as follows:

For the Office of Sentinel:
Beth Augustine, Ellis
Nick Meyer, Marion-Florence

For the Office of Reporter:
Kyle Apley, Blue Valley
David Luebcke, Marysville

For the Office of Treasurer:
Chantelle Simon, Hill City
Makenzie Deines, Centre

For the Office of Secretary:
Jeff Hadachek, Republic County
Baylee Siemens, Buhler

For the Office of President:
Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline
Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard

Delegates will cast their ballots and the winners will be announced this afternoon during the final session.

Labette County FFA Member Wins John Deere Gator

Will Owens of the Labette County FFA Chapter won a drawing for a John Deere Gator 625iXUV during the 86th Kansas FFA Convention on Friday, May 30.

Owen’s name was drawn from 10 finalists, which were randomly selected from a pool of members who completed one of the following requirements for entry: submitted an application for the American or State FFA Degree, participated in the agriscience fair, received an agri-entrepreneurship award, or were honored as a proficiency award winner or District Star winner.

Owen was eligible for the drawing because he received his State FFA Degree. His advisors are Dustin Wiley, Jeff Falkenstien and Kyle Zwalhen. Owen’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) program is in agricultural communications, which involves working for Farm Bureau in Lamont. He is responsible for creating games and presentations for 500 fourth grade students in conjunction with Earth Day. Owen also participates in the extemporaneous public speaking, agricultural sales and agricultural communication Career Development Events (CDEs).

As an FFA member, Owen said he has enjoyed activities such as attending National FFA Convention and getting to know members from other states.

“FFA has provided many opportunities to develop as a person and will help with everything from scholarships for college to learning skills for applying for jobs,” Owen said.

The drawing is sponsored by Kansas John Deere Dealers and the John Deere Agriculture and Turf Division.

“With continued support from the John Deere Dealers in Kansas, we are able to recognize and reward the outstanding accomplishments of our members,” said Daryl Simmons, Kansas FFA Reporter.

CDE Winners to Represent Kansas at National Convention

Congratulations to the FFA members and chapters who here honored for their success in CDEs and other competitive events during the first two days of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention.
Winners were recognized on stage as follows:
  • Creed Public Speaking: Savana Hernandez, Arkansas City 
  • Ag Issues: Ellsworth FFA
  • Parliamentary Procedure: Holton FFA
  • Leadership Quiz Bowl: Hill City
  • Ritual Demonstration: Buhler FFA
  • Scrapbook Awards: Cherryvale FFA 
  • Job Interview: Christina Hoffman, Chapman FFA 
  • Extemporaneous Speaking: Jamie Wall, Winfield FFA
  • Prepared Public Speaking: Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard FFA
  • Agriscience: Winfield FFA
Congratulations, and good luck at National Convention!

Cody Holliday delivers State Treasurer's retiring address

Cody Holliday
2013-2014 Treasurer
Jackson Heights FFA

Live Your Life

“What is life?” It was “Philosophy Friday” and my FFA Advisor posed this question to my Agri-science Class. That day I found that we could answer this question in many ways. Life is a magazine. Life is a cereal. Life is a box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Finally there was my advisor's favorite, the explanation that he gave us every year when he reminded us to make the most of everyday, “Life is a game, and it could be game over anytime.” Throughout this year, I came across an anonymous quote that takes this one step farther. This quote does a great job of defining what we often go through in life as well as in FFA and we'll be taking a closer look at it this morning; it goes like this, “Life is a game. Play it. Life is a challenge. Meet it. Life is an opportunity. Capture it.” “Life is a game. Play it.” Crack. The sound of the bat hitting the softball rings out, and Kade is running to first base. Seth moving like a tiger scoops the ball up and prepares to throw the softball to first base in order to catch his prey, but then he waits just half a second as the voice in the back of all of our minds screams out, “Wait! Are you really going to get out a six year old?”With that moments hesitation, Kade makes it safely to first base. A couple minutes before this Jeremy finally agreed to play a softball game, after Silas, who was eager for a competition had asked him for about the millionth time if we could play. The teams had been split up, and Seth and Brady did the whole who can put their hands on the top of the bat first deal in order to decide who would bat first. Brady had won with his usual determination while Seth just silently smiled, grabbed his glove, and took his place in the field. Jeremy, Jacey, Cody, Seth, Brady, Drew, Silas, Kade! That's right I have seven siblings, and last year about this time I stood on this stage and explained how living in a big family is very similar to living in a big FFA Family.

Now one phrase that I always heard growing up in a big family was, “Wow! There are almost enough kids in your family to have your own baseball team.” In a big family and in our FFA family we all have skills and talents that we can share with our team as we play this game of life. In my family Jeremy is the oldest and therefore our leader, Jacey is the sweet one, Seth is the quiet one, Brady is the determined one, Drew is the story-teller, Silas is the competitive one, Kade is the baby (and I suppose you always save the best for last), and I am the ornery one. Some of the most enjoyable times that we have as a family are when we are all together and playing our role within our “team.” As a big family and as an FFA Family this can be very true, we do have enough people to field our own baseball team. In fact I think that we often find ourselves on a team on the field that we call life, and as we continue on in life this will only continue to happen. We will be on a team of co-workers, family, or even FFA members. One thing that is important to remember as we are on this field of life though is that we all have skills and talents that help us to play our position. We might be in right field, left field, short stop, or the pitchers mound, but we all have special talents that we can share with our team in order to best play the game. It is important that we use our very unique skills to the best of our abilities. What would it look like if we had our right fielder trying to pitch from right field? What would it look like if we had our home-run hitter bat first instead of fourth? If this was our game-plan for this game of life, we would probably set a record for most walks in a game instead of the most strike outs, and we would probably only score one run when we hit a home run instead of hitting a grand-slam and scoring four runs. We play this same game of life as FFA members. What would it look like if everyone in our FFA chapters came up with brilliant ideas, but no one carried them out? What would it look like if, green hand members took the place of our FFA Advisors? (Yeah, you thought that the drive here was scary.) If this was our game-plan for this game of life we probably wouldn't be able to accomplish very much in our FFA chapters, and we might not make it back home alive.

Take a look at the chair number that you are sitting in. We all put on official dress and come to these sessions as FFA members, but simply put you are the only one who will be sitting in your chair during the 5th Session of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention. What skills do you have that can further not only your chapter, school, and community, but the Kansas FFA as well? What is a task that you have been good at since you were 5 years old? What is one of the most important lessons that you have learned this past year? How will you share those skills, talents, and lessons this next year? Kansas FFA, “Life is a game,” and we “Play it,” best when we choose to Live Your Life, by using the skills and talents we are given to help our team. As Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken.” Kansas FFA, “Life is a game.” How will you “Play it?” We all have skills and talents that we have to offer that make us unique, but sometimes we have to overcome a challenge that is holding us back. “Life is a challenge. Meet it.” One of the biggest challenges I faced this past year was when my grandfather passed away. On September 25, 2013 at 3:35 pm I was in Hale Library on the third floor studying when I received a phone call informing me that my grandfather had passed away. (Two days after that I can remember sitting in the front row of my crop science class, just like I always did. I tried to take notes and focus just like I always did. I had a whole lot of other thoughts I my mind that day though. It felt like I was in the middle of a black hole, just being sucked down, while hoping that someone would come and rescue me.) I can remember sitting in class, and on the outside we put a smile on our face and pretend like everything is just fine, like everything is normal, but on the inside we know that's not true. At the time, I recorded many of the thoughts that were going through my mind as I dealt with the loss of my grandfather. “So many is so different being on the other side of things...I always told myself I wouldn't cry when this happened, but this is a man to cry for...I'm so sad...I will miss him, but at the same time I am joyous that he will be in a better more Parkinsons, dymentia, or memory loss...he knew Jesus and because of that he will be in a much better place...who knows he might even dance (Holliday Style)...that's another emotion...humor...we can laugh and smile at all of the good memories...and share in the bond and joviality of being together...part of it seems fake, a way to hide the pain, but part of that seems real after all that's who grandpa was...then there's a feeling of loss...I wanted him to see his great grandchildren...I wanted him to see engagements and marriages...and the world will miss this man who lived so simply, yet so vibrantly...then there is sorrow...for grandma...” There were so many, thoughts and emotions, that I was experiencing at this time, and it was tough in many ways to go back to school after this. However, as my family came together after this it was amazing to see all of the support that people provided us with. Whether it was a kind word or a great big bear hug that people shared with me, I realized that my grandpa had touched many people's lives. I also realized that he taught me many important lessons that I could pass on. While it is still different not having my grandpa around, I am thankful for the many lessons he taught me. I am also very thankful for all of the people who helped my family during this time.

We often have a large challenge like this before us, and it changes our life. When we get to the other side of our challenge we see things a little bit differently. It's my experience that most people at this time probably have at least one challenge that they are dealing with. Some might seem more major or more minor than others, but my experience leads me to believe that this is true. Before state officers are up here on stage, they get the opportunity to be out in the audience. I can remember being out there thinking, “Alright this speaker is funny, their motivational, but I'm just a normal kid. At this time I'm not diagnosed with cancer, and I haven't had to save the world, so when are they going to start addressing my challenges, when are they going to start addressing “normal” challenges that we may face. I realize that there are those of us in this room who have had to deal with a death, this past year, but I realize that there are probably those of us who haven't had to experience this up close yet. There might be people in this room who have had to deal or might have to deal with challenges that range from alcohol and drug use, to relationship issues, to how we handle our money, to dealing with a sprained ankle, or not being able to find a single Kleenex in the house when we really need one. Even if I didn't mention your challenge in this brief list believe me I understand, how you feel and I am talking to you. You might be going through the world's largest challenge ever, or you might being going through what seems like the world's smallest challenge ever. The magnitude of the challenge does matter though, what matters is how we meet our challenge. Sometimes when I am getting ready for a particularly hard task, I like to watch an “inspirational” video on YouTube. One of my favorite lines in my favorite video goes like this, “I have a saying that goes like this when life knocks you down try to land on your back because if you can look up, you can get up.” When life knocks us down, do we land on our backs or do we pull out a white flag and give up? Think of a challenge in your life right now. How are we meeting this challenge? How can we see this as an opportunity for growth and learning versus viewing it as an insurmountable obstacle in our life? Kansas FFA “Life is a Challenge,” and we “Meet it,” best when we choose to Live Your Life, by realizing that we can learn and grow from these challenges. Kansas FFA, “Life is a Challenge.” How will you “Meet it?” We all deal with challenges, but there are ways we can capitalize on challenges and other situations that arise. “Life is an opportunity. Capture it.” “Alright, I'm not going to call a timeout here, but I want you to tell the linemen to really gear down and push for this first down. I'm going to let you take responsibility and tell them that because that's what I call leadership. With that I ran back out to the huddle, relayed this message to my teammates, and we pushed forward on the next play and got a first down. As a middle school football player, and then later as an FFA member my advisor, Mr. Lierz was constantly urging me to step out, strive for premier leadership, and push me to be my best. “Life is an Opportunity. Capture it.” One way that I like to capture opportunities that life gives me is to surround myself with great people. By doing this I have learned some amazing lessons, and I have had some amazing experiences. By surrounding myself with people like Mr. Lierz, I have been able to capture many opportunities. One of these was when Mr. Lierz told me that he thought I should run for a district office. At first I thought he was crazy, but in many ways Mr. Lierz understood me better than I understood myself. He knew that I liked being involved and that if I was playing baseball I wanted to be on the pitcher's mound, if I was playing football I wanted to be the quarterback, and therefore as part of FFA, I loved having the opportunity to serve as a district officer.

There are many ways that we as FFA members can capture opportunities that arise before us. Personally when I think of capturing opportunities, I think of all of the fantastic people I have around me. I have the opportunity to learn from them. We get to celebrate the good times together, and we are there to support each other in the tough times. I love to be able to look back and see how reaching out to the different people in my life has helped me to grow throughout the years. There are many possible ways though for us to capture the opportunities that we are given. We can capture these opportunities by reaching out to the amazing people around us, stepping out of our comfort zones, serving others even if it is tough, or finding some other way to make the most of every moment that we have. “Life is an Opportunity. Capture it” How do you capture the opportunities life presents you with? Do you capture moments by surrounding yourself with people, like the African proverb goes, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together?” Do you capture opportunities by setting goals and working towards them? Do you capture opportunities by stopping and enjoying the simple moments in life? Take a moment to consider how you capture the opportunities you are given. Kansas FFA “Life is an Opportunity,” and we “Capture it,” best when we choose to Live Your Life by making the most of the moments that we have here, which for me is asking someone to come along for the ride. Kansas FFA, “Life is an Opportunity.” How will you “Capture it?” On this “Philosophy Friday,” if you asked me, “What is life?” I would consider telling you that, life is a magazine. I would consider telling you that, life is a box of chocolates – you never know what you are going to get. I would be pretty sure that my advisor would tell you that, life is a game, and it could be game over anytime. However, on this “Philosophy Friday,” I would expand on that. I would tell you that, “Life is a game. Play it.” We all have talents, skills, and strengths that make us unique and allow us to bring something special to our FFA team. “Life is a challenge. Meet it.” Know that there will be challenges we face, but if we come through them we will be stronger. “Life is an opportunity. Capture it.” We can choose to make the most of every moment by taking actions like surrounding ourselves with people who are willing to help us through the good and bad times in life. What is life? “Life is a game. Play it. Life is a challenge. Meet it. Life is an opportunity. Capture it.” What is life? Life, is a noun, it just kind of sits there. Live on the other hand is a verb, like jump, run, and skip, it takes action to make it happen. Kansas FFA Live Your Life!! 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

CDE Winners Announced Day 2 of the 86th Annual State FFA Convention

Gold division
1. Cherryvale FFA - 98
2. Centre FFA - 91.6
3. Girard FFA - 91.3
4. Great Bend FFA - 87.3
5. Mission Valley FFA - 87

Silver division:
6. Marysville FFA - 85
7. Smith Center FFA - 72.3
8. Erie FFA - 72
9. Oakley FFA - 61.3
10. Fairfield FFA - 60.3

Bronze division:

11. Haven FFA - 56
12. Hill City FFA - 54
13. Wamego FFA - 48
14. Sabetha FFA - 10.3 

Job Interviews:
1. Christina Hoffman, Chapman FFA
2. Jackson Schneider, Free State Lawrence FFA
3. Aubrey Davis, Scott City FFA
4. Chantelle Simon, Hill City FFA
5. Karen Schneck, Lawrence Free State FFA

Extemporaneous Public Speaking:
1st Place: Jamie Wall, Winfield FFA
2nd Place: Kevin Morrow, Riverton FFA
3rd Place: Scooter Kice, Central Heights FFA
4th Place: Heath Goertzen, Goessel FFA

Prepared Public Speaking:
1st Place: Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard FFA
2nd Place: Dean Klahr, Holton FFA
3rd Place: Nicholas Meyer, Marion FFA
4th Place: Halli Wigger, Troy FFA

Kansas FFA Awards Four Honorary FFA Degree

Four individuals were honored for their great service to the Kansas FFA on Thursday evening, May 29, at the 86th Annual Kansas FFA State Convention on the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, Kansas.

The Honorary State FFA Degree is bestowed upon those who help to advance agricultural education and the FFA, and who have rendered outstanding services to the association. This year's recipients are Scott Schaake, Westmoreland; Jim Morgan, Louisburg; Dan Bliss, Wakeeney; and Roberta Spencer, Holton.

Scott Schaake
Dr. Schaake is formerly a member of the Lawrence FFA Chapter. He currently serves as a professor in the department of Animal Science at Kansas State University. This year, he retired from eleven years of coaching the Kansas State University livestock judging team. He is a professor and coach who is dedicated to helping students grow both in and out of the classroom. Dr. Schaake has shown his dedication toward the FFA through coordinating the state Livestock Judging Career Development Event since 2002. He leads a selfless life of service, and through his service has influenced and changed the lives of many.

Jim Morgan
Mr. Morgan currently serves as the President of the Kansas Association of Agricultural Educators, and has also served as the KAAE career development event committee chair. He started teaching agricultural education in January of 1983 and has spent all of his teaching career at Louisburg High School. Mr. Morgan has found a way to blend family and agricultural education by taking advantage of travel opportunities as a family to strengthen his role in the classroom. He is committed to motivating his students in and out of the classroom, committing both time and effort to his chapter leadership each year and coaching teams to state and national success. Through his dedication and hard work he has led the Louisburg chapter to continuous achievement.

Dan Bliss
As a past Kansas FFA Alumni President and most recently serving as the Executive Director of the Kansas FFA Association, Bliss has spent a lifetime of giving back and supporting Kansas FFA and the next generation of Kansas agriculture.

Roberta Spencer
Ms. Spencer is the Jackson County Conservation District Manager. During her years as manager she has helped organize the Northeast District Land Judging Career Development Event and is the chairperson for the State Envirothon committee. Through many years of service and dedication, Ms. Spencer helps members experience the opportunities to grow through FFA as she serves as a member on the Holton Ag Ed Advisory committee.

Chance Hunley delivers State Secretary's retiring address

Chance Hunley
2013-2014 Secretary
Riverton FFA


Voice: noun. The sound produced by a person and uttered through the mouth, as speech or song. We all have a different understanding of what a voice is, and something always comes to mind when we think of it. Some might think of someone like Josh Turner, singing “Your Man”. Others may think of someone like Paul Harvey as he spoke “So God Made a Farmer”. People like these have used their voices in powerful ways. Since the dawn of time, humans have used their voices in one way or another, whether that be entertaining or communicating. From my dad’s perspective, he would probably say that I have used my voice to argue with him non-stop, talk during TV shows (yes, I was that kid), and belt out songs entirely too loud. It’s amazing to think how much of a difference a voice can make in someone, and the effect and impression is has on others. But none of that can be seen unless we see how unique our voices are. It may take a little digging to find our own voices, but once we do we can use them to make a difference.

Whenever I created speeches in high school, I always wondered how I could make my voice unique, and stand out from everyone else. I’ve always been told I have a problem with “volume control”, so being heard wasn’t an issue. I wanted my message to mean something – to myself and to those I was sharing it with. After racking my brain I realized that by sharing my story, and my experiences, I am truly using my own voice. But sharing my message didn’t mean much if I couldn’t keep someone’s attention, so I actually tried changing my tone of voice. I tried a strong tone, and ended up sounding like a news anchor. I thought about singing, until my advisor said nooooo. Then it hit me: maybe I could engage others by using something way different than my tone of voice. I experimented a little, and I now have a list of 50 different accents and impersonations – everything from Sean Connery to Gollum from the Lord of the Rings. I’ve said the creed in a few, and once convinced a girl from London that I actually lived there. I always watch people’s reactions when I use an accent, because the smiles, the laughs, and the looks people give me like I’m a little weird show me that I really do have a voice that I call my own. We all have different parts to our voices that make us who we are. Some people have voices that are so powerful you can’t help but listen to them, some share a message with such passion that they immediately capture your attention, and others just have that special something in their voice. For Josh Turner, it’s that slow, deep, southern drawl and his country roots that give him his voice. For Paul Harvey, it’s the passion with which he shares his message that shines through. Don’t waste your time trying to be someone you’re not, because then how will you show off your own voice? We all have unique experiences that make us who we are. They shape our thoughts, actions, and the message that we share with others. Just like snowflakes, no two voices are exactly alike. Your voice is you. Embrace what makes you unique, don’t hide it! If you’re passionate about something, show it! Whether it’s something in school, sports, or the FFA, be proud to be a part of something bigger than yourself, because believe it or not, that’s truly where you can be yourself.

There are too many times in life when someone is okay with blending into the crowd and decides not to show themselves. What if you really like a particular CDE, but you’re one of the only ones who wants to participate? Are you going to not even try, or are you going to step up and be yourself because it’s something that you are passionate about? Be sure to tell your story, because not only are no two stories alike, neither are told the same. But while we can try so hard to use our voice to stand out, what happens if we don’t really know what our voice is? I ran into that problem when I was younger. It didn’t matter if I belted out songs as loud as I could when I was at home because when I was in public, I was silent. It turns out that I really didn’t have much of a voice of my own when I was younger. Picture with me a kid who always sat at the back of the class, would rather be reading than speaking, and would have conversations that felt like talking to a brick wall. That was me. I was that kid who was way more comfortable by myself than around other people. I never wanted to give a book report or presentation because those would actually involve me speaking, in front of people. I stayed that way until I walked into the Ag classroom my freshman year. I learned about this organization called FFA, and how you could get involved in all of these things that you were interested in. Even though my advisor and FFA encouraged public speaking, that was not something that was high on my priority list. But my advisor gave me a challenge, so I had to accept. I learned the FFA creed, and found myself in my very own jacket reciting the words, “I believe”. What a rush! I was scared out of my mind, but I thought I did great…and I liked it, because I spoke about something that was important to me. This was revolutionary! What else would I like if I actually tried it?

To this day I still think speaking in front of anyone is a scary experience, but I know that I can always improve by stepping out of my comfort zone. We all can. By taking on challenges like the one that my advisor gave me, I was able to literally find my voice through speaking. One that truly represents me, and what’s important to me. There are times where it feels alright to let other people take care of the hard stuff. That means smooth sailing, right? If only. You see, by losing those opportunities to have new experiences, we also lose opportunities to see what we can accomplish. While the challenge might seem scary, never be too scared to take the challenge on, because it might lead to one of those defining moments in your life. If I was too scared to run for an office, I wouldn’t be on this stage. But when we open ourselves up to new experiences, and constantly seek them out, we put ourselves on a road to success. Sometimes that road just feels like it’s going in circles, and other times it’s so long and winding that we feel a little lost. Don’t give up. Keep pushing, because it’s by making that effort that we all see what we’re made of, and what our voices really are. It might seem impossible, but if you’re scared to try out something new, or even if you think you are comfortable where you are at, I dare you to challenge yourself. I found my voice through speaking, but you don’t have to be involved in speaking to find your voice. Maybe that involves trying out a different CDE, or running for that officer position. It might be applying for a new job, or it might just be asking that cute FFA member to dance. You never know what you can truly accomplish unless you try. Don’t wait for someone else to come along and take an opportunity that you can seize right now. Focus on the strengths! What are some of the strengths and talents that you possess? Most importantly, focus on what makes you happy, because that is where you can truly find your voice. Some of loudest and proudest leaders in the world have something that they are passionate about, or something that they are working towards. Without constantly stepping up and stepping out, their voices might not exist! Always try to find how your voice truly sounds. No one knows how much work it will take to find their voice until they look back, so start looking now! Once all of this work is put into finding the voice that belongs to you, there’s only one thing to do: use it!

People use their voices in many different ways. Sometimes, we use our voices to give titles to each other that help us define who we are: funny, smart, athletic, kind. When people describe us as those words, we feel like we’re invincible. But there are other titles that are given: stupid, freak, runt, insignificant. Words that, when we hear them, completely tear down our defenses. I know I’ve definitely been called a few of those. You see, in middle school, I wasn’t much of anyone – I was pretty much invisible. I had moved up a grade in elementary school, making me younger and much smaller than everyone in my class. Since I skipped a grade, I was singled out as the “smart kid”. At first it started out small, like being picked on for my age or my size, but over time it grew; if I got an answer wrong, some of my classmates would tell me how “stupid I was for getting it wrong” and laugh at me; people would slam my locker in my face if I was using it; and if I ever tried to do my work without letting someone copy off of me, they turned against me. It kept coming and coming, each time making me feel smaller and smaller. I tried to remember the saying: “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” But whoever came up with that never said anything about words making you afraid to go to school, or scared to even get out of bed because you know what’s waiting for you. As things started to get worse, there were people who noticed it. Classmates that held out a hand when I was down, and those who stood up for me between the people who harmed me. They used their voices to help me. They selflessly gave themselves to a cause, and for that I am forever grateful, and proud to call them some of my best friends today. By using their voices in a meaningful way, they helped me find strength. I know what it’s like to be ignored, and treated like my voice doesn’t matter. But I know now what it’s like to be proud of who I am, and what I stand for.

Wherever you go in life, whatever you do, be sure to use your voice in a positive and impactful way – sometimes that is all that’s needed to make a huge difference. Never be afraid to stand up and use your voice, because that automatically makes you brave. Stand up, and be heard for what you believe in. You may find that you aren’t the only one standing. Speak up, because a voice speaking a few positive words can drown out a negative voice speaking a thousand. Our voices are who we are: our hopes, our talents, our likes, and our dislikes. No person has the right to take it away from you, or tell you that you or your voice doesn’t matter. In fact, it matters more than many things, because it is by using our voices that we leave our mark upon the world. People might remember you for your voice, but you are better remembered by what you do with it. By choosing how we sound, and what message we share, we can all make a difference. That difference can be just one person, or it could be a thousand, but just remember that by changing even one life, you are changing the world. By choosing to use your voice in a negative way, to hurt those around you, you are actually hurting yourself. You are closing yourself off to relationships and connections that you might have had otherwise. Be aware of other people’s feelings and actions, because those are their voices as well. Always seek opportunities to make a positive difference in the world, wherever you see a need for it. If you think you would have helped me when I was younger, and stood up for me, let me hear you say “yeah!” I could have used all of you guys six years ago. Imagine a thousand blue jackets just stepping in to help a middle schooler. Now if you’re passionate about the FFA, let me hear a “whoop whoop!” Ah, sweet music. You see, that was just a part of all of your voices coming together. And while each of them is unique, that’s the greatest part of using our voices: coming together. Make sure now, and in your future, to surround yourself with passionate individuals. They may have the same likes and dislikes or a little different, but either way you are placing yourself among people who are willing to help you make a difference. I found those passionate individuals this year, and I call them my teammates. Let’s take a moment to ask ourselves the question, “Do I surround myself with people who use their voices in a positive way?” If that’s a no, what can you do to fix that? If it’s a yes, where do you go from here, and what can you do together with them? When you show your passion, you are giving your voice purpose. With purpose, you’ll always find new reasons to use your voice. To speak, to sing, and to laugh. Sometimes I wish life had an easy button. I could press it and go back and tell myself all of these things that I’ve learned about life; I would grow up to not be as tiny; I would actually like talking to people; and I would have the most amazing experiences ahead of me. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to do anything any differently, because I know that it’s by embracing who we are that gives us a unique voice. It’s by always reaching for new experiences that we find our voices, and how we use all of our voices determines the impact that we have on the world around us. Kansas FFA, use your voice!

Army/Army ROTC Becomes Kansas FFA Four-Star Sponsor

MANHATTAN, Kan. – The Army and Army ROTC has partnered with the Kansas FFA as a four-star sponsor of the 86th Annual Kansas FFA Convention, May 28-30, on the Kansas State University campus. The sponsorship provided support for the convention Career Show and the Kansas FFA band and chorus performances.

“The Kansas FFA Convention recognizes members’ achievements throughout the year. We’re fortunate to have the support of generous sponsors like the Army and Army ROTC to make this event a success,” said Kansas FFA president Lindy Bilberry.

The Army and Army ROTC recognize the exemplary life and practical skills of Kansas FFA members and considers their sponsorship an investment in the Army’s future, said Katie Trembly Stein, a representative of the U.S. Army ROTC.

“Anticipating the growing technological complexity of the military profession, the U.S. Army ROTC is targeting some of its scholarships toward students who will major in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines,” Stein said. “We recognize Kansas FFA members begin learning many of these skills from an early age.”

Army ROTC is available in more than 1,100 colleges and universities nationwide, three of which are in Kansas. Army ROTC offers merit based scholarships that can pay up to the full cost of college tuition and fees and many other open educational opportunities.

Finalists announced for John Deere Gator drawing

The pool of Kansas FFA members who could leave the 86th Kansas FFA Convention with a John Deere Gator 625iXUV has been narrowed to 10 finalists.

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:
Karessa Nordyke, Hugoton FFA

Nils Bergsten, Holton FFA

Carina Zogg, Coffeyville FFA

Katie Thoden, Paola FFA

Anissa Zagonel, Girard FFA

Audrey Diehm, Prairie View FFA

Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline FFA

Kendal Peterson, Southeast of Saline FFA

Aaron Miller, Ottawa FFA

William Owens, Labette County FFA

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!

State Proficiency Award Winners Recognized Thursday

Students were honored for their outstanding achievements in their SAEs during Thursday's sessions. Those recognized are as follows:

Agricultural Communications
Kendal Peterson, Southeast of Saline
Sponsored by Kansas Farmer Magazine (State) and Bader Rutter and Associates, Inc. and Keystone Steel & Wire Company – Red Brand (National)

Agricultural Education
Caitlan Schasteen, Paola
Sponsored by Larry Gossen Family (State) and The James F. Lincoln Arc Welding Foundation and Tulsa Welding School (National)

Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication
Devin Neal, Chapman
Sponsored by Abilene Machine (State) and Carry-On Trailer and RAM Trucks (National)

86th Annual Kansas FFA Convention Scholarship Recipients

169 scholarships were awarded at the 86th Annual Kansas FFA Convention.

Scholarships are sponsored by businesses and individuals and are given for a wide variety of experiences, career goals and higher education plans.

The selection processes takes into account the whole student - FFA involvement, work experience, Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), community service, leadership skills and academics.

Kansas FFA Alumni/ KS Tractor Pullers Assn 
Jesy Strnad, Republic County

Washington Leadership Conference                                  
Amber Finney, Buhler
Baylee Siemans, Buhler
Dakota Isaacson, Buhler
Keli Schrag, Buhler
Lacy Pitts, Buhler
Cassidy Hill, Centre
Baily Stein, Chapman
Cheyenne Ferguson, Chapman
Christina Hoffman, Chapman
Devin Neal, Chapman
Emilie Pearson, Chapman
Kaylin Fink, Chapman
Kyler Langvardt, Chapman
Lane Coberly, Chapman
Milea Anderson, Chapman
Loren Williams, Clay Center 
Rylee Reed, Clay Center
Justin Hurst, Coffeyville
Nick Westervelt, Coffeyville
Kord Curran, Girard 
Nikole Kroenke, Girard
Victoria Kimbrough, Holton 
Sami Montgomery, Jefferson West
Kaysha Elemenhorst, Marmaton Valley
Trent Johnson, Marmaton Valley
Grace Luebcke, Marysville
Hadley Schotte, Marysville
Joni Sheets, Republic County
Madison Waite, Republic County
Micayla Pachta, Republic County
Nickalous Baxa, Republic County
Waylon Sheetz, Republic County
Cassandra Ebert, Rock Creek
Aleksander Herring, Seaman
Cassidy Powell, Seaman
Mackenzie Funnell, Seaman
Madison Stone, Washington County

Orscheln Farm & Home Stores                                
Dakota Caldwell, Chapman
Brandi Feehan, Louisburg 
Jeff Hadachek, Republic County 
Nicholas Meyer, Marion-Florence
Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard
Tracy Schmitz, Axtell
Tricia Schmitz, Axtell
Justin Schmutz, Ell-Saline

Midwest Ford Dealers WLC Student ($1000)                  
Nikole Cain, Mission Valley

Midwest Ford Dealers WLC Student ($500)                    
Bailey Peterson, Buhler
Clara Wicoff, Iola

Universal Technical Institute  
Nicholas Meyer, Marion-Florence
Bret Voth, Marion-Florence
Devin Thomas, Russell

Ford Truck/Built Ford Tough  
Taylor Heinrich, Abilene
Bryce Dieker, Anderson County
Elyssa Day, Arkansas City
Leah Scholz, Atchison County 
Kyle Apley, Blue Valley 
Marshall Carey, Blue Valley
Shelby Mazzoleni, Buhler
Baylee Siemens, Buhler
Dusty Wolf, Buhler
Taylor Rossillon, Burlington
Tristan Davis, Central Heights
Austin Stallbaumer, Centralia
Ty Simons, Centre
Jaden Miller, Chaparral
Drew Miller, Chapman 
Ty Carmichael, Cheylin 
Shayna Braun, Clay Center 
Shelby Bryan, Clay Center
Blake Martin, Columbus
Clay Boley, Concordia
Landon Stephens, Crest
Taylor Coen, Elkhart
Kacee Hoskinson, Elkhart
Justin Schmutz, Ell Saline
Colton Churchill, Ellinwood
Rachel Keller, Ellis
Tyler Thiesing, Erie
Joanie Schultz, Garden City
McKenna Belcher, Girard
Mary Fishburn, Haven Chapter
Annemarie Wortz, Haven Chapter
Marshal Swearingen, Hiawatha
Allison Nickelson, Hill City
Cody Delk, Hillsboro
Zech Shiew, Hodgeman County
Jo Jarnagin, Holcomb
Amber Searles, Holton
Breanna Compton, Horton
Lacie Campbell, Hoxie
Kolbyn Allen, Humboldt 
Kristen Knackstedt, Inman 
Dirk Troth, Jayhawk Linn
Shelby Bussen, Labette Co
Karen Schneck, Lawrence Free State
Brecken Sigg, Louisburg
Anna Jackson, Manhattan
Emily Meiwes, Marmaton Valley
Michael Swift-Plaschka, Marmaton Valley
Coleman Forst, Marysville
Trisha Kiser, Minneapolis
Sadie Boline, Mission Valley
Kameron Kraus, Mission Valley
Justin Mosiman, Newton
Daniel White, Ottawa
Brianna Yates, Ottawa
Tera Brandt, Paola
Kaylee Hill, Paola
Brooke Jensen, Pike Valley
Victoria Thompson, Pleasant Ridge
Autumn Secrest, Pleasanton
Allison Butler, Prairie View
Kaitlyn Bledsoe, Riley County
Travis Blenn, Rock Creek
Chase Wagner, Rock Hills
Alexandra Ptacek, Russell
Emily Meeks, Sabetha
Bailey Merklin, St Francis
Matt Rowe, Salina Central
Aubrey Davis, Scott City
Elizabeth Miller, South Barber
Jim Weller, Southeast of Saline
Miranda Alumbaugh, Southern Coffey County
Tucker Thorp, Southwestern Heights
Krysteena Redman, Spring Hill
Elizabeth Patrick, Tonganoxie
Ashley Thurston, Tonganoxie
Chase Gleason, Uniontown
Dallas Holz, Wamego
Kenneth Easterly, Wellington
Abigail McComb, Wellington
Sarah Bellar, West Elk
Ashley Harrod, West Elk
Dylan Bowman, Winfield

National FFA Scholarship   
Tracy Schmitz, Axtell
Tricia Schmitz, Axtell
Richard Fischer, Burlington
Dakota Caldwell, Chapman
Josh Haynes, Chapman
Cody O'Brien, Cherryvale
Luke Rush, Doniphan West
Trey Mosier, Ellinwood
Jared Oelke, Ellinwood
Justin Leonard, Eudora
Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard
Logan Evers, Great Bend
Wade Steinfort, Hanover
Chase Meisinger, Hillsboro
Ethan Oborny, Hillsboro
Jenna Bogner, Labette County
Samantha Meier, Linn
Taylor Cannon, Louisburg
Brandi Feehan, Louisburg
Taylor Ince, Newton
Johnnye Ruder, Norton
Jeff Hadachek, Republic County
Juliana Krotz, Republic County
Kevin Morrow, Riverton
Anna Pugh, Royal Valley
Elizabeth Pierson, Sabetha
Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline
Kendal Peterson, Southeast of Saline
Hailey Abbott, Thunder Ridge
Bailey McKay, alley Heights 

Nursery/Landscape Scholarships - STIHL Outdoor Power Equipment           
Andrea L'Ecuyer, Washington County
Scott Romeiser, Washington County
Alyssa New, Chapman
Brandi Feehan, Louisburg

Carrie Carlson delivers State Vice President's retiring address

Carrie Carlson
2013-14 Vice President
Centre FFA

Why Me?

Aunt Carrie, “Why are trees green”, Aunt Carrie, “Why are you writing thank yous” Aunt Carrie” Why do we have to go to bed” Aunt Carrie, “Why are you a girl?”- try explaining that to a three year old! These are just a few of the questions I’ve been asked by my twin three year old nieces while in the famous why stage. This stage is so fun because you never know the questions they are going to ask, and sometimes you really have no idea how to answer them. Today I’m going to ask us to all be a little like a three year old with endless curiosity with a few why questions. But instead of directing that curiosity towards the world, we will direct it towards ourselves and ask, ”Why me? Why now? And lastly Why this? and you may be amazed by the outcome.

We all know THE person in our class that just seems to just have everything together. They ALWAYS raise their hands for the answer and they are always right. The person who never seems to get anything less than a 99.99% on anything no matter what, with the assignment not only done, but done before it’s due. This person is the definition of overachiever: “Why are you doing that, you don’t have to do it.” “Oh, I just want to because I know it will make it better.” Not only does this person excel in academics, but they’re in every activity on the planet: scholar’s bowl, sports, NHS, FBLA, 4-H, FFA. Add oodles of hours of community service and wah-law you have….well….me. As the “goody two-shoes” of my class, I was always being relentlessly teased and mocked. And because I had been with over half of my graduating class since kindergarten, I was stuck with this label from early on. I hated it. I had nicknames such as Speedy Cheetah for always being to class on time, which was a constant reminder of my label.

For much of my time in school I let this idea bother me and it often had me wondering, “why do I have to be such a goody two-shoes, why am I not easy going or funny, why am I like I am?” I found my answer one summer in reflection after returning from Washington Leadership Conference. While at WLC I was surrounded by 300+ FFA members from across the country who were just like me-they wanted to do the best they could in everything. I remember one girl in my community group had a goal to raise money to sponsor 5 wishes for the Make A Wish foundation before she graduated high school. She had already sponsored 4 when I met her. She herself had received a Make a Wish Trip and was fortunate enough to recover to pass on that blessing to others. This conference changed my thinking on myself as I realized that it was perfectly okay for me to want to achieve my best in all that I do while working passionately towards my goals.

I learned that once you accept who you are, you start living YOUR life to the fullest. All of us are given different strengths and talents, but it’s when we fully embrace them that we can succeed. Why me? Because we can be our best selves when we embody who we are with confidence with the freedom of judgment from others. Think about 3 qualities, unique talents or strengths that you like about yourself-regardless of what others may say about it. Why me? Focusing on our strengths will lead us to be our best selves. Why me? There is no one better to be you than you. Why me? Because it is when you embrace your personal qualities that we will truly live a life full of happiness and purpose.

When thinking about what message to share with you today, I was told to ask myself, “What do you wish you would’ve known in high school that you know now”. My answer simply put is to realize that you’re living your one and only life today. I think the song “The Motions” by Matthew West illustrates what it’s like to truly live every day with purpose.

  • I don't wanna go through the motions
  • I don't wanna go one more day without Your all consuming passion inside of me
  • I don't wanna spend my whole life asking what if I had given everything instead of going through the motions?
How many times do we find ourselves going through the motions of life? I know I’m guilty, hit the snooze five times, roll grudgingly out of bed, brush my teeth, get ready, eat breakfast go to school, fill time with activities and homework, go to sleep, wake up, repeat— wait till Friday. What would happen if we looked at each day as a gift, an opportunity and stopped just going through the motions? Would we laugh more, make memories and look forward to everyday? Would we stop looking at everyday as just a checkmark until we reach that next stage in our life? What I’ve realized is that our life doesn’t start tomorrow. Instead it started when we were born. All we can ever be guaranteed is today, right now, we never know if we’re going to be blessed with another day. And with that, know that we will never get another today. Therefore, please don’t wish your life away by constantly looking forward to what’s next whether its an achievement, its being in college or being married or whatever it is. Instead of asking yourself why am I here? Ask how can I make the best of my life starting now? Because remember, now is the only today you will ever have.

In my hands I have a tube of toothpaste, which is to represent the amount of time we have in our lives. For some of us we may be blessed with 95 years some 50 or some only 23, we don’t really know. But regardless of this, we all have a limited amount of time to live. Every time I squeeze out toothpaste it represents a portion of our life that is being lived. For example, the first five years of our lives are spent playing and attending preschool and kindergarten. We then spend the next 12 years of our life in school. Let’s say that this tube represents someone who is blessed to live to 75 years old. This means that many of us in the room right now are about ¼ of the way through our lives and no matter what we do, we will never have this time back. As we go through life the amount of time we have left decreases and eventually, our time here on earth will come to an end. I challenge you to think about what in your life you want to accomplish and maybe what parts you are wishing away. Why now Kansas FFA? None of us know how long we may have to live. Why now? Right now is your life, it doesn’t start when you get that diploma or award or when you achieve a certain age or status. Why now? This is the only life you ever have to live and there is no one but you to decide how you will live it.

Once we’ve accepted who we are and realized that we are living our one and only life right now we might find ourselves asking another question. Why this? If we truly value our time then we should logically value what we spend our time on. Asking yourself why this? About anything you do in your life really gets you to think about what has value in your life. For me when I asked myself that question I immediately thought of a question asked of me while running for state office. “What are you two most important beliefs in life that will never change?” My answer was that people and our relationships with them are the most important things here on earth and that my purpose is to love and serve God through his will. This answer as it turn out answers all of my why this questions. I am so passionate about the FFA because it’s all about developing leaders and growing as a person as well as providing for others through agriculture. How would you answer that question? What are your two most important beliefs in life? When you find your answer to this question then the next question may make more sense.

It may be hard to believe but the founder of KFC, Colonel Sanders, used to be everything from a farm hand to a salesman. However Colonel Sanders found his love for cooking and KFC is now valued at $19 billion dollars worldwide. And the most interesting part, Colonel Sanders was 65 when he started his restaurant. I only wonder would have happened if Colonel Sanders had asked himself why this? When he was younger. Maybe he would’ve gotten to be involved in the successes of his business he loved even longer. My challenge for you is, in anything you do, ask why this? We are all FFA members because in some way we believe in this organization and the power of the blue jacket. Do your activities reflect your beliefs? It’s when we realize why we do what we do that we can reevaluate our lives and ask ourselves why this? Why do I spend my time on this? When we realize our purpose, we can truly spend our time on what is most important to us, right now. Ask yourself, why this?

FFA is the reason I realized that it was ok to be different from others and be myself. One of my advisors told me my freshman year, “Carrie you’re missing your spark.” It’s true. I wasn’t happy with who I was and I had lost my spark. We find our spark and the answer to the question “why me” when we aren’t afraid to be ourselves. One thing I’ve learned this year as a state officer is that life passes us by so quickly. The same is true for every stage of your life. A favorite song of mine sums this up well “You’re Gonna miss this, You’re gonna want this back, you’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.” We all only have a few years to wear this blue jacket. Some of us are coming close to hanging up our jackets, I hang mine up tomorrow. So “ why now?” What do you want to accomplish before you hang up your jacket? I will never regret my time spent on anything in FFA. However there are times in my life my time could’ve been better spent. Never forget the reason you spend your time doing something. When we ask ourselves “why this”, we live purposefully when we use our time on activities we value.

We’ve asked ourselves: Why me? Why now? and Why this? Kansas FFA it’s time for us to embrace who we are, realize we are living our lives today and spend our time where it matters most to us — Kansas FFA it’s time to be the true YOU.

FFA Members participate in State FFA Band & Chorus

A select group of FFA members used their musical abilities to entertain members and guests at the 86th Kansas FFA Convention this week on the Kansas State University campus. 

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

The band was directed by Yvonne Colle-Burden, Medicine Lodge High School, assisted by Kris Brenzikofer, Marais des Cygnes Valley High School. The band performed two concerts during the convention May 28-30.

Members of the State FFA Band are as follows: Blue Valley: Seth Carlson, Michael Olson; Chapman: Don Parks; Cherryvale: Brooke Blaes; Cimarron: Doran Griffin; Clifton-Clyde: Bethany Morgan, Derek Reese, Jonathan Wurtz; Ellsworth: Emma Klein, Amanda Miles; Hiawatha: Bryn Swearington; Hill City: Whitney Herman; Holcomb: Dalton Nicholson; Manhattan: April Ascher; Marais des Cygnes Valley: Robert Nance; Marion-Florence: Aidan Cairns; Medicine Lodge: Kali Thompson; Moundridge: Desmond Finley; Republic County: Nickalous Baxa, Saxton Graves, Waylon Sheetz; Rock Creek: Cale Hinrichsen; Sabetha: Brianna Gruber, Emily Meeks; Southwestern Heights: Jacie Butler; Washburn Rural: Antonio Ramonda-Pruitt; Wellington: Haley Farley; West Franklin: Jessica Carlson, Tori Coopman.

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 28-30. 

Members of the State FFA Chorus are as follows: Atwood: Nicolette Nemeth, Isabella Skolout; Axtell: Veronica Huninghake, Sierra Perry, Alexis Werner; Blue Valley: Courtney Anderson, Taylor Kaump; Central Burden: Bailee Ellis; Chapman: Geneva Fink, Josh Haynes, Christina Hoffman, Kyler Langvardt, Emilie Pearson; Cherryvale: Ashley Bertrand; Fairfield: Kayley Geesling, Josie Zink; Girard: Morgan Michael; Great Bend: Melanie Maneth, MacKenzie Thornburg; Hiawatha: Jessie Brintnall; Hillsboro: Vance Klassen, Riley Loewen; Holton: Alexandra Clark, Victoria Kimbrough, Tristan Parks; Hugoton: Nickolas Evans; Marais des Cygnes Valley: Bonni Beery, Cassandra McCurdy, Electra Massey; Marion-Florence: Cade Harms; Marysville: Lela Chaudhry; Northern Valley: Carson Montgomery, Khrissanna Van Patten, Tea Van Patten; Republic County: Stephen Crouse, Laura Mead, Micayla Pachta, Lane Shoemaker, Jesy Strnad; Sabetha: Nathaniel Niehues, Hannah Ploeger, Caleb Strahm; Spring Hill: McKenna Holtgraver; Uniontown: Hannah Fry, Sarah Townsend; Wabaunsee: Joseph Hund; WaKeeney: Kassidy Chase, Bryn Hafliger; Washington County: Sidney Applegarth; West Elk: Taylor Barker; West Franklin: Lacy Altic, Sierra Jones; Wilson: Janell Ptacek, Kaitlyn Slechta.