On Wednesday, October 30th, six members of the Independence FFA Chapter departed with their advisor, Ms. Rachael Emig, on a nine-hour drive to Louisville, Kentucky for the National FFA Convention. The six members chosen via application were Elijah Michaels, Brittney Fuller, Mark Thompson, Cecily Corkery, Hope Staker, and Molly Gustafson. On the way to Louisville, the group stopped in Indiana to tour Fair Oaks Farm, a 25,000 acre farm which produces approximately 2.5 million gallons of milk per day. While at Fair Oaks, the students watched the birth of a calf, took a bus tour of the farm, and observed the milking routine. Seeing a large-scale dairy farm and the work that goes into providing America with dairy products is an opportunity most people never have.
Six hours later, the Independence Chapter arrived in Louisville for the convention’s opening ceremony. They, along with 50,000 FFA members from all over the nation, congregated in Freedom Hall at the Kentucky Exposition Center to join in celebrating the 86th annual National FFA Convention. The evening consisted of National FFA Band and Choir performances as well as speeches from the Louisville mayor and National FFA advisor. All these events led up to the keynote speaker Rick Pitino, the head coach for the Louisville Cardinal’s men’s basketball team. Pitino proved to be just as powerful of a speaker as he is a coach. He talked about the importance in giving people undivided attention and putting every ounce of effort into the task at hand. Additionally, he spoke about things he wished he knew when he was a teenager and shared some of his keys to success. Pitino’s radiating energy and relatable topics resulted in an exceptional presentation.
Thursday morning the Independence FFA members attended a workshop on the topic of getting FFA members more involved in chapter activities. Following this presentation was the National FFA Expo. This consisted of hundreds of informational booths from colleges, businesses in various agricultural pathways and big brand names such as Ford, Carhart, and John Deere. After gathering information, entering contests, and playing some games it was eventually time to go back to the hotel and prepare for the next day’s long trip home. Thanks to the Independence Advisory Committee the trip was paid for, allowing the six lucky members to simply enjoy the trip and learn as much as possible. Through attending the National FFA Convention each member gained greater knowledge of what opportunities FFA and careers in agriculture could provide for them.
Independence FFA Chapter Reporter