Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Day One of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention - Wednesday, May 28

The first day of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention featured an opportunity for high school students to explore potential careers; recognition of student success in the FFA creed speaking, agricultural issues, ritual demonstration and parliamentary procedure career development events; and a challenge to members from a retiring state FFA officer.

The opening session welcomed Kansas FFA members, advisors and guests to Manhattan and announced the first of many individual and team honors that will be granted to members during the week.

Savannah Hernandez, Ark City FFA, was recognized as the top individual in the Creed Speaking Career Development Event. Stephanie Silvers, Prairie View FFA, placed second; Morgan Houk, Girard FFA, placed third; and Mia Pents, Winfield FFA, placed fourth.

The Ellsworth FFA was honored as the top team in the Ag Issues CDE and the Holton FFA took home top honors in the Parliamentary Procedure CDE. The Hill City FFA Chapter won the Leadership Quiz bowl finals over Buhler FFA.

The Louisburg FFA was recognized as the top chapter in the Career Development Events Sweepstakes. Washington County FFA was second, followed by Buhler FFA in third, Paola FFA taking fourth and Labette County FFA fifth.

All members in attendance were challenged by the message to continue to seek personal growth delivered by kick-off speaker Matt Lohr. Lohr developed a passion for speaking as a young FFA member and went on to serve as both the Virginia FFA President and National FFA Vice President before becoming active in Virginian politics.

Following the session, members enjoyed either the FFA Night at Manhattan Town Center with dancing or the Hypnotist Show by Ray Thompson.

Earlier in the day, members attended the 13th Annual Convention Career Show and interacted with agribusinesses and other professionals to learn more about their future opportunities after high school graduation.

Members also had the opportunity today to view Farmland, a movie showcasing an intimate look at the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20s, all of whom are now responsible for running their farming business. The movie was screened at two different times in Forum Hall in the Kansas State Student Union.

Convention continues tomorrow with recognition of the 42 proficiency award winners who were selected for accomplishing specific career goals in their supervised agricultural experience programs. The top individuals in the prepared and extemporaneous speaking career development events will be announced and the recipients of the honorary degree and distinguished service award will be recognized. Also the 2013 American FFA Degree recipients will be recognized.

Elizabeth Allen delivers State Sentinel's retiring address

Elizabeth Allen
2013-14 Kansas FFA Sentinel
Holton FFA 

Eu Acredito

Oi meu nome é Elizabeth e eu acredito. When my brother of the past year, Victor, starts speaking in Portuguese my response is “Whoa! Hold up Victor.” My brother of the past year, Victor, has challenged me to think about the word BELIEVE, acredito. When first thinking about this word it was just a simple Webster dictionary definition, “accept as true, feel sure of the truth of, or hold as an opinion; think or suppose.” The definition does not express half of what the word really means. One of my favorite quotes I came by in high school volleyball was “Believe in yourself, believe in each other, and as a team you will succeed.” This quote brought this question to mind, “In what aspects of our lives do we need to believe?” To be able to fully grasp the meaning of belief in our lives we need to believe in ourselves, others, and in faith.

Driving on the family ranch was something I learned to do by the age of ten. By no means was my driving perfect then (or maybe still today) but when you get behind the wheel you feel on top of the world. Getting my farmers permit wasn’t the piece of cake you’d think it would be for a farm girl. I was so pumped to get my farmers permit and finally be legal to drive. I hopped in the car and once we returned the instructor had told me I was driving too slow and that I had failed. TOO SLOW?!? When trying for the second time I sped up a little bit and everything was going perfect! I was right on the path towards my permit and low and behold less than 200 feet from parking the car I had run a stop sign and had failed a second time (smart one Elizabeth, I know). How could I, a farm girl who’s been driving since I was little, fail my driving test twice? Not going to lie, I was pretty upset when I didn’t get my farmers permit that first day I tested for it. Going back that next day for the third time I had to believe in myself. I knew that I had been driving the tractors and trucks on the farm for the past however many years and surely I could my permit this time. The third times a charm right? Well in this case it was. My focus had to be on how to pass the test not what will they fail me for this time? Sometimes we get so caught up looking at all the negatives in life and being pessimistic (which I am very guilty of myself), that we forget to believe in ourselves. We also tend to take one little issue and focus on it, the issue with this is will it really matter in the grand scheme of life? Take five seconds and look down at the right side of your jacket. What you see is a name that is worth believing in. In the Lion King, Mufasa said, “Believe in yourself and there will come a day when others will have no choice but to believe with you.” Believing in yourself isn’t just a one time occurrence, believing in yourself in the good times and bad and through the thick and thin of life allows us to have that courage and determination in life, to go that extra mile and accomplish some of our greatest goals. As you go back home and get back into your regular routine focus on that person you see in the mirror. Look deep inside yourself and believe that in every situation you are confronted with you believe in your abilities! No matter whether we are a freshman in high school or a parent of an FFA member we all have the capability to do amazing things and believe in ourselves.

Last summer a couple of friends and I set a goal to complete the Spartan Sprint a race that consists of 15 or more obstacles in 3 plus miles. We were first met with four foot wooden walls to jump over and a creek to run through, and the obstacles didn’t end there. For some of our group, swimming through mud was the hardest. For others, simply continuing to run as fatigue set in was the most difficult. Obstacle after demanding obstacle went by and we were getting exhausted. Barriers were getting physically and mentally harder to complete. For me I struggled getting up out of a pit of mud and climbing over the steep incline of dirt. I was struggling to finish, and I know that the only thing that got me through was a teammate at the top of that incline that pulled me over. Through this demanding race, our group pulled together and supported each other, with both positive words and a helping hand. During the rough obstacles, mine being the mud pit, we pulled each other up and helped each other get through them together, leaving no one behind. Woody from Toy Story says, “Reach for the sky”, I say, “Reach for the finish line.” Finally after longest hour, twenty-eight minutes, and thirty-nine seconds of my life our team had crossed the finish line and earned the title of ‘Spartan’. The confidence we had in each other allowed for us to finish the race as we believed we could. Believing in others in our lives gives people, like our team, the courage for them to believe in themselves. I believe is said six times in the FFA Creed. I think it’s no secret that E.M. Tiffany believed in the FFA as an organization. He believed in the people around him. How do you show others you believe in them? Showing our belief in others can be something such as writing a creed, such as E.M. Tiffany, sharing a sticky note with someone, or even something as simple as complimenting them. Our belief as a group while running toward the finish line was shown through the help we offered in obstacles and the comments of positivity. The trust we put in one another is key to showing others that we believe in them. Don’t accept walking on in life pretending like there’s no one to believe in because when you look around in your life there is ALWAYS something whether that is your CDE team, a sports team, your family, friends, or that person struggling to finish the race, someone needs your belief. Look at who is on your right and your left. When I say believe, we will take five seconds to tell our neighbors, on both our right and our left, that we believe in them. BELIEVE. Don’t let what we said in this auditorium go to the back burner as you see those you believe in during your daily life give them that extra reminder that you believe in them.

My brother of the past year, our foreign exchange student, Victor, knew that he wanted to do an exchange in America. When he was first told about my family offering him the opportunity to stay with us he wasn’t told the whole truth. The company he went through only gave him the names of my mom, dad, brother, and I. None of my three sisters were mentioned and Victor didn’t know about them until a Skype video chat with our family. Let’s step into Victor’s shoes. How would of you reacted if you didn’t know whether the flight would even make it from Brazil to Kansas? Or if you didn’t know whether your host family would be at the airport waiting? How would you have reacted if you wouldn’t of known you’ve accepted a family that is twice the size that you thought it was and didn’t know what our personalities were like? Any of these factors could have discouraged Victor from coming to America and living with my family, who he knew nothing about, but instead he chose to believe. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Victor has shown his belief in faith in different areas of life that he hadn’t seen throughout his exchange. He had to have faith in the company he went through to find his exchange. He had to believe that he would get from Itabuna, Brazil to Kansas without any flight troubles. He had to have faith that our family would be waiting for him at the airport to pick him up. The list of him believing and having faith when coming to America could go on and on. However, if Victor didn’t believe in all the different aspects of life that he did he probably would not have came to America. Think about this. You’re in an unfamiliar city and got lost on the way back to your hotel. A stranger comes up to you and gives you directions on how to get back. Not only do you have to have faith in this stranger, but also with yourself, the street signs, and the lights on the side of the street. So many factors play into your belief in this situation. Are you going to run with your faith or let it pass by the wayside? Faith in our lives is very important and it can be as simple as our faith in a child’s first steps, our faith in gravity, or in my case, my faith in God. In any aspect of your life you will find faith and by believing in faith your life will go places you never dreamed of. When you walk out of McCain today I challenge you to have faith and believe in the people, places, and things around you. Take a stand, find your faith, and BELIEVE.

Kansas FFA remember the quote I started off with in the beginning, “Believe in yourself, believe in each other, and as a team you will succeed.” Let’s apply this quote in our lives. Live the life of believing in yourself, one another, and that niche that fits you. No matter whether we are the dance captain, the jock, the math geek, the musical nerd, the millionaire, or the poor, we ALL wear the blue jacket and we all have something unique to believe in. Kansas FFA, “Believe in yourself, believe in each other, and as an, INDIVIDUAL, CHAPTER, STATE, and NATIONAL organization we will succeed. FFA members look at that reflection in the mirror and believe in yourself, find those people beside you to believe in on a day-to-day basis, and take a stand and find belief in your faith. Believe in yourself, believe in others, and believe in your faith. Oi meu nome é Elizabeth e eu acredito. Hello my name is Elizabeth and I believe!

CDE Winners Announced during Opening Session

Creed Public Speaking:
1st Place: Savana Hernandez, Arkansas City FFA
2nd Place: Stephanie Silvers, Prairie View FFA
3rd Place: Morgan Houk, Girard FFA
4th Place: Mia Pentz, Winfield FFA

Ag Issues:
1st Place: Ellsworth FFA

Parliamentary Procedure:
1st Place: Holton FFA
2nd Place: Marysville FFA
3rd Place: Clay Center FFA
4th Place: Mission Valley FFA

Leadership Quiz Bowl:
1st Place: Hill City FFA
2nd Place: Buhler FFA
3rd Place: Anderson County FFA
4th Place: Chapman FFA

Ritual Demonstrations:
1st Place: Buhler FFA
2nd Place: Hill City FFA
3rd Place: Jayhawk Linn, FFA
4th Place: Mission Valley FFA

Rankings announced for 2014 National Chapter Awards - Student Development

The National Chapter Award program recognizes chapters that actively implement the mission and strategies of the organization. Based on a chapter's Program of Activities (POA), chapters are recognized for working in established areas called "quality standards," which are divided into three divisions -- student development, chapter development and community development.

The opening session of the 86th Kansas FFA Convention recognized the chapters excelling in the area of student development, which are listed below.
  1. Chapman
  2. Holton
  3. Ell-Saline
  4. Arkansas City
  5. Southwestern Heights
  6. Marysville
  7. Mission Valley
  8. Girard
  9. Riverton
  10. Buhler
  11. Hill City
  12. Louisburg
  13. Goessel
  14. Clay Center
  15. Flinthills
  16. Hays
  17. Jayhawk Linn
The Kansas chapter performing best in all three divisions is awarded the Triple Crown award, which will be announced during the Sixth Session Friday, May 30.

Candidates vie for Kansas FFA offices

Twenty candidates are running for a state officer position to represent more than 8,700 Kansas FFA members for the 2014-2015 term. Throughout the week, candidates will complete an intense process of interviews, tests and public speaking demonstrations as part of the 86th Kansas FFA State Convention on the Kansas State University campus.

An appointed nominating committee of former state officers and agricultural education instructors interviews the candidates. On Friday, May 30, the committee will submit its nomination of 10 candidates to the state convention delegates, which consists of two members from each of the 172 chapters in the state. After hearing the candidates present a final prepared speech, the delegates will elect the six members who will serve as the 2014-2015 state officer team. The new team will be announced and installed at the final session of the convention Friday afternoon.

The committee evaluates the candidates on their applications, a written test, writing exercises, and five rounds of interviews. These include one-on-one interviews, delivering a speech, facilitating a workshop, round-robin interviews and a personal interview round.

Once elected, the officers will travel across the state promoting agricultural science education and FFA.

Candidates include:
  • Kyle Apley, Blue Valley
  • Beth Augustine, Ellis
  • Tasha Baker, Jayhawk Linn
  • Elyssa Day, Arkansas City
  • Makenzie Deines, Centre
  • David Detweiler, Axtell
  • Taylor Green, Southeast of Saline
  • Jeffrey Hadachek, Republic County
  • Bailey Joonas, Linn
  • Conrad Kabus, Seaman
  • Kevin Lewis, Centre
  • David Luebcke, Marysville
  • Nicholas Meyer, Marion-Florence
  • Wyatt Pracht, Anderson County
  • Karl Riffel, Centre
  • Bethany Schifferdecker, Girard
  • Karen Schneck, Lawrence Freestate
  • Baylee Siemens, Buhler
  • Chantelle Simon, Hill City
  • Alexandra Tuttle, Plainville