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.

Rankings announced for National Chapter Awards - Community Development

The National Chapter Awards for Community Development rankings are as follows:

1st - Southwestern Heights FFA Chapter
2nd - Hill City FFA Chapter
3rd - Arkansas City FFA Chapter
4th - Riverton FFA Chapter
5th - Chapman FFA Chapter
6th - Mission Valley FFA Chapter
7th - Holton FFA Chapter
8th - Marysville FFA Chapter
9th - Buhler FFA Chapter
10th - Marmaton Valley FFA Chapter
11th - Hays FFA Chapter
12th - Clay Center FFA Chapter
13th - Gossel FFA Chapter
14th - Louisburg FFA Chapter
15th - Ell-Saline FFA Chapter
16th - Girard FFA Chapter
17th - Ellsworth FFA Chapter

Daryl Simmons delivers State Reporter's retiring address

Daryl Simmons
2013-14 Reporter
Minneapolis FFA

"Rock Your World"

In high school, I had the opportunity to take a guitar class in school and ever since then my world has been ROCKING! I remember going home and looking up how to play different songs on YouTube. One of the first ones I learned was what I just played, Hit Me with Your Best Shot by Pat Benetar. The look on my classmates face's when I played that in class was that of totally impressed. Little did they know that this riff is incredibly easy to play and took very little practice. Since then I've learned significantly harder songs but not without putting in the time and practice. Every song I can now play helps me to rock my world.

Part of rocking my world consists of having time for myself, finding the silver lining in any situation, and appreciating the journey I have. Whenever I say my world is rocking, I automatically think of AC/DC's song Thunderstruck. Upbeat, fast paced, exciting music. However part of rocking my world is taking time for myself and that song doesn't always fit the activity. One way I take time for myself is by keeping myself in shape so when I go for a run I usually listen to harder rock and metal to keep me going at a good pace, oftentimes the group Avenged Sevenfold. However, if I'm working out by taking a bike ride through a wooded area, I'll listen to softer music such as Enya or even classical music to give a majestic type feeling to the moment. Another way I take time for myself is by being out in the country down a dirt road just enjoying the fresh air. This is when the genres country and red dirt come out. For me that's a pretty obvious fit for being out in the country. One major way I take time for myself is by playing guitar. The majority of what I'll play is classic rock and blues. Classic rock is what pumps me up and gets me excited and ready to take on the world. Songs such as Takin' Care of Business by Bachmann Turner Overdrive, and Johnny Be Good by Chuck Berry really get me going. Blues is what I turn to when I'm extremely stressed, such as last year when I was conflicted about my option to either continue livestock judging with an amazing team or to run for state FFA office. I spent many hours overall listening and playing blues because of the amount of emotion it conveys. It's pretty easy to see that music is a big component of the time that I set aside for myself. Of course I listen to music while doing other activities but everything I've talked about is specific time that I deliberately set aside time for myself.

These activities shouldn't be "if we have time" activities but "we will plan time to do" activities. This helps us clear our minds so that we can better work on other important tasks. Not only will we be more productive but probably more pleasant to be around. This is just how I personally take time for myself. Do you know how you best take time for yourself? Maybe you're like some people I know who go out and work so as to productive and have a sense of accomplishment. Others read a book to escape into a different world. Perhaps you enjoy writing poetry and do that to take time for yourself. Maybe your way is to clean your room, I know my mom wishes that was the case for me. In my mind little is more important for personnel well-being than figuring out how you take time for yourself and taking time to do just that. Step one to rocking your world, take time for yourself. With how much I've been talking about music you might think that my world is always rocking. That isn't so. I'd like to tell you about a time in my life when the music in my head really didn't play.

March 17th, 2010. I was driving my truck to my first baseball practice of the season. I didn't make it far. A tire blew out on my truck. Before I could react much my truck was on its side against a couple of trees in a creek bottom. It had crumpled around me and I couldn't get out. Luckily my dad was able to find me and call for help. It took about two hours to cut me out of that truck. Luckily the only real injury I got was a torn ligament in my shoulder. If I had landed a foot north or south of where I did my head would probably have stopped right on a tree and in no scenario does that end well. Overall I was extremely lucky to get out in the condition I did. Obviously this was not a good situation but I am still able to locate a couple of silver linings among all the negatives. The first and biggest silver lining is that I'm now a stronger believer in my faith. I truly believe that if it weren't for a higher being I wouldn't be here today or at least not in this good of shape. Another silver lining is my appreciation for seat belts. I completely understand why they are promoted as life savers and can personally attest to that. One final silver lining came one month later when I got a new vehicle. I went from getting around 15 miles per gallon to about 25 miles per gallon so not having to pay for as much gas was amazing. This particular situation had a lot of negatives: ruining my beloved first truck, getting an injury that will probably affect me for a lifetime, and scaring my family are just a few. It was a decision to move past those and find what there is to be happy about, the silver linings. This is something that is good to do regardless of the situation. Emotionally this makes one an extremely positive person and optimistic about the future. With the silver lining in mind we have the ability to share our happiness with others and aid in their happiness.

Regardless of the situation you are put in find the silver lining, find the good. Don't waste time dwelling on the negatives. This only leads to a pessimistic, depressed state of thinking. Stay positive and go forth with a positive attitude. Share your happiness with others who fail to find the good in a situation. You can always find a positive if you look. Sometimes it is hard to find but don't give up looking. How will you overcome the negatives and remain positive by finding the silver linings?

Step two in rocking your world, find the silver lining. While taking time for yourself and finding the silver lining are extremely important, one equally important point comes to mind. Appreciate the journey. I've realized everything involves a journey and it's important to appreciate it. Take my guitar for example. How in the world could one decide to build an electric guitar that looks like a heifer? It took me over a year and hundreds of hours to build however the journey behind it goes back way farther. My passion for woodworking comes from my dad and spending time in his wood shop. Woodworking became my first project in 4-H at a young age and every project made me want to do something more precise. Over the years I've learned to make exact measurements that a guitar requires. I first got involved with music in 5th grade band. I stuck with it and took a guitar class come high school. My passion for music coupled with my love of woodworking inspired me to build a guitar. Showing cattle taught me a lot over my many years in the ring and was a project I knew took constant commitment to care for livestock. This lifestyle matched with my want to be different and provoked the idea of shaping the guitar like a heifer. I can trace that journey all the way back to my first year of 4-H when I enrolled in the woodworking project. All of these seemingly unrelated journeys in my life all came together to create this guitar which I am extremely proud of and can cherish for the rest of my life. Truly this guitar is a tribute showing my appreciation for all of those journeys. Yes it is a conversation starter and a showpiece of sorts but I see it as a way to bundle together so much of my youth. Many parts of my life to this point had an influence on this guitar. We may not realize it right now but every little moment of the journey can be a great lesson that can aid you in the future and it's important to appreciate that fact. Some of the lessons we may not understand for a couple years but as soon as they make sense and sink in, take time to truly appreciate them. We should all realize that everything we do in our lives does have meaning. Many people just think about growing up and getting their dream job. They don't think about the journey it takes to get there and by accident let a lot of time slip by.

Whether your current trip is working towards a goal or literally traveling make sure you enjoy the journey. I was once told that whatever you're doing in the moment, do it to the best of your ability because that moment will soon be gone. So if you're chasing a dream or goal give it your all so as it achieve it. If you're trying to beat your school's track record, run every race as if it is the one. Even something as simple as walking your dog applies. Walk your dog as if this is the best walk you and Scooby-Doo will ever have. It's all part of the journey whether you realize it or not. Oftentimes the journey is the biggest part of the trip so take a bit of time and appreciate it. Appreciating the journey is the final step to rocking your world. Looking back over my life to this point it has been rocking. My question to you is can you say the same? Do you take time for yourself? Can you find the silver lining? Are you appreciating the journey? I have faith that every one of you can do just that and I challenge you to make it so. Kansas FFA ROCK YOUR WORLD!!!