2022-23 Officers

Malerie Schutt, VP
Jan 31 2023

New Year, New Me: The Desire for Success

I have been a college student for over a semester now, and I can say that living on your own — away from your family and closest friends, being forced to meet new people, and not to mention taking care of paying for things — has made me grow up a little. Since school started in August, I have had to be more cognizant of what my habits consisted of on a daily basis. Because there was nobody there to tell me what I should and should not do, I had to make sure I was doing productive things so I stayed on the path to success. This also meant that I had to set goals for myself and hold myself accountable to accomplish those particular goals. If I didn’t take these actions, I would probably be in the same spot I was in six months ago. Six months ago, I had the intention of only doing the bare minimum- getting good grades and surviving the change between high school and college. I soon realized that if I wanted to be successful, I had to set challenging goals for myself in order to change who I was for the better. As I was in the process of making a list of goals and expectations for myself a variety of thoughts came to mind that prohibited me from the process. Questions arose like: “What kind of goals would I even set for myself?”; “What’s the point of setting goals when it’s so easy to give up?”; “Will I even accomplish these goals?” After these questions rushed through my mind, I took a deep breath and asked myself another question, but this one had great value: “Where do you want to be in a year?” As I reflected on this question, I had a plethora of ideas for goals I wanted to accomplish in the near future. The next thing I did was make a list of all the things I wanted to achieve. 

Goals are just words written on a piece of paper. It’s one thing to write them down with the intention of accomplishing them. But it’s another when we actually put forth the effort and have the continuous desire to mark those tasks off our list. There is a reason why we thought of the goals we have on our list: because we want to achieve them. But here is where everything gets lost in translation.  After we write down our goals, we get caught up in the craziness of life and prioritize other things over the ideas we had to become better individuals. We put ourselves on the back burner when things start to seem more important. While life can be overwhelming at times, especially when it’s senior year of high school and you’re cramming in scholarship applications on top of studying for your FFA contest team, it’s the actions we make at that time that are most important. It’s those times where it’s critical that we focus on ourselves, because that’s where the progress starts. That’s where we make enormous strides down our road to success. 

The other day, I came across this quote on Pinterest and it got me thinking. It stated, “You can’t do big things if you’re distracted by small things.” Meaning, if we are always focusing our attention on every little thing that’s happening around us, we tend to lose sight of ourselves and what we need to do for our own good. Our progress on being successful individuals gets put on pause when we become distracted from the minor details in life: social media, our peers, irrelevant issues, and many more. FFA members, in this new year, make sure you are putting yourself as a priority. 

And remember, YOU are the only one in control of how successful you can be. 

YOU are the one who sets the goals for yourself.  

YOU decide how far you go down the road to success. 

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Allison Schneider, VP
Jan 30 2023

Be the Future

As my time in the blue jacket starts dwindling, I am thinking back on all the great memories I have had. The amazing friendships I’ve made, the experiences I have taken hold of and the words of wisdom and advice I’ve heard and taken to heart. Some of my favorite advice has been “do it anyway;” “soak in this feeling of hurt, it will make rewards feel that much better;” “do what makes you happy;” “walk out of the interview room with a smile, then laugh”; “remember who you’re doing this for;”and “we don’t have problems we only have solutions”. These quotes from my mentors over the years have come in handy in many different situations but when they all came together for me is when I repeatedly heard a common phrase we hear as agriculturists and FFA members. “We are the future of our industry.” What does that phrase really mean? Do we take it with a grain of salt? Do we just respond with a nod and smile? Do we even give it a second thought? I know I did not until just recently while my team and I were facilitating Greenhand Motivational Conferences. I told our Greenhands that they were the future of our organization. Saying it was more than just repeating words; it was a call to action, a challenge that I hope they accepted: to continue making FFA the largest student lead organization in the nation. I hope it was a call to action to continue representing with pride, honor and respect for ourselves and others. So, when we hear “you’re the future” instead of nodding and smiling, start dreaming and aspiring to make it that much better and continue to hold up the traditions!

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Jason Holland, VP
Dec 17 2022

Direct Your Growth

The end of 2022 is upon us, and with it brings the end of the first semester of school. That is an exciting time for most as it means winter break and Christmas! As exciting as the holidays are, the time can also be stressful. Catching up on homework, turning in last minute assignments, and worst of all prepping for semester finals. This monster can come in many shapes and forms. For some it might be a paper, while for others it could be a presentation. For me, it came in the form of making a 30 minute television show.

 

We were split into groups with everyone assigned a different role on the crew. While some might have had the less stressful jobs such as camera crew or VTR, I decided I wanted to challenge myself and take on the role of director. It was by far the most challenging and nerve racking job because the whole show would be relying on me. However, I worked all semester to enhance my skills, and though it was scary, I knew I wanted to push myself. Eventually the day came to film, the crew set up, and I took my position in the director’s chair. When the show came to a close our group celebrated. We had run into a few road bumps here and there, but we came out better than before. I had overcome my fear, and grew as a person.

 

FFA members, I tell you this story not to brag on myself, but rather to illustrate just how important it is that we challenge ourselves. Throughout this year, you are going to be presented with opportunities that you might not think you are ready for, or might just be too scared to take. These are the exact types of challenges we need to face head on. It will be scary, and that is okay. The best experiences you will ever have will come from something you were originally nervous to do. Take that step. Apply for that office position. Give that speech. Do whatever it is that you are nervous about or scared of. Be the director of your own story, the one where you become the best version of yourself.

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Annamarie Stone, VP
Dec 05 2022

It’s Okay to Look Back

We have all heard the quotes about not looking back or just keeping our eyes forward, but I have come to find that some of the most beautiful things are those that are behind us.  

When it came to picking a school I knew I wanted to stay close to home. I decided I would go to Mizzou, and then I had to choose where I would live. After some deliberation I came to the conclusion that I would live at home so I could continue my SAE, save some money, and live closer to the members that I am serving this year. Although driving is not my favorite task and Columbia traffic can test my nerves, there has been one good thing that leaving the house at 6:30 a.m. has brought me. Each morning when I get into my car the sun is just starting to peer over the golden harvest ready corn and each time I look into my rearview mirror that is what I see. After seeing the breathtaking view morning after morning, it got me thinking that if all I did while I drove was look forward then – one it would get monotonous, two I wouldn’t know who was behind me, and three I would miss the sunrise. 

Sometimes in life we tend to only look forward and forget about the beautiful views that are behind. When we only look forward we become numb to our surroundings just like the views get monotonous. When we only look forward we forget about who is following us and looking to us for guidance. When we only look forward we sometimes forget about some of the most joyous times in our life. I encourage you to look into the rearview mirror. Remember the accomplishments, the friendships, the smiles, and then remember that although there are beautiful moments behind us just like the sunrise, there is something beautiful that lays ahead for us. 

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Cooper Hamlin, VP
Nov 25 2022

Falling Is Not Failure

After a week like no other, the Missouri FFA State Officer team made our way back home from the 95th National FFA Convention & Expo. As I watched the autumn leaves fall from trees and fly by, I mentally replayed the last session of convention, the session in which the former National FFA Officer team passed on the gavel to the new. Just as these leaves departed from the tree to signal the beginning of autumn, the past national officers stepped away from their positions, signaling new beginnings. As I thought about this session, one moment in particular stood out to me. The moment occurred just after Jessica Herr of Pennsylvania was announced as the national secretary. Hearing her name called, Jessica sprinted from the audience and toward the stage. Before Jessica could reach her destination, she lost her balance and fell, losing both of her heels in opposite directions. Jessica knew she had two options, either stay down and search for the heels, or keep going. In an instant she was back to her feet and on the stage!

 

We all have times in life where we feel like we have taken a fall. Whether it’s at a contest, in school, at work, or during a speech. However, I encourage us all to be more like Jessica. Instead of dwelling on the failure, let’s focus on picking ourselves up and continuing to reach our stage of success. We might not have to lose the heels, but we may have to let go of some fears and negative thoughts to do so. The words “fall” and “fail” are very similar, so it is up to us to distinguish between the two. As we continue our journey through the FFA and life, remember: Falling is not failure.


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Hannah Rice, VP
Nov 20 2022

Five Kernels of Corn

Every Thanksgiving, my family and friends gather for a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce and pie. We celebrate fellowship and thank God for the many blessings that He has given us. However, before we dig into the mouth-watering food, we have a meaningful, long-standing tradition. We pass around a dish of corn kernels and each chooses five. It has been said that food was once so scarce for the Pilgrims that each person was rationed to five kernels of corn a day for an entire winter. Before tasting the first forkful of casserole, my family and I go around the table and each list five things we are thankful for. This year, one thing that will be at the top of my list is agriculture. I am thankful for the simplicity of my childhood spent on the farm. I am thankful for the wonderful people involved in each step of the journey from farm to fork. And finally, I am thankful to live in a time and place where our food system is secure, and I go to bed with a full stomach. Here are some more blessings I am afforded thanks to American agriculture: 

 

A sense of belonging

Great opportunities

Respect from peers and adults

Insight from professionals

Creative outlets

Unconditional friendship

Learning by doing

Training that will equip me for the future

Unity

Reasons to work hard

Endless love and support

 

This holiday season, we should take time to ponder our many blessings. While life is far from perfect, many of us have eaten more than five kernels of corn today. That is all thanks to the farmers, ranchers, agribusiness professionals, educators and agri scientists who have devoted their lives to filling our plates. 

 

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Emily Nelson, VP
Nov 15 2022

Finding Peace Through Balance

At the 95th National FFA Convention, I found myself both in awe and overwhelmed by everything happening around me. I felt like a clown standing on one leg on a balancing board trying not to drop what I was juggling. While this balancing act of a clown dressed in bright colors is amusing to a crowd, it is a little harder to actually pull off. I found myself realizing that balance is an important skill to learn in order to handle life’s challenges. There is peace in balance.

 

Days at convention were filled with busyness, going from event to event and hearing from so many motivational speakers. The day had many moving parts and left me feeling a large range of thoughts and emotions. The complexity of each day took time and patience to evaluate. While the week was very busy, I found joy in simple matters. From little moments shared with my teammates, to the comfort of my corduroy jacket in a sea of blue. There is beauty in complexity and time to appreciate simplicity.

 

Over the course of the week I was reminded of FFA’s history and its firm roots in agriculture. The National Officers spent time reflecting on their past year of service. They used their past to serve as a mark of how far they have come. While they took time to acknowledge the past, they were living in the present moment. I could see that each officer was entirely present and soaking in each moment. Their faces had sincerity and joy written all over them. There is room to appreciate the past and to live in the present.

 

The National FFA Convention reminded me that there is peace in balance. You cannot have complexity without simplicity, and you cannot remember the past without living in the present. Though I might have felt like a clown performing a juggling act, I was able to find peace through balance.

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Jacob King, VP
Oct 04 2022

“Fall” Into Opportunity

Jacob King

Fall is upon us. The new school year is underway and ready to present new opportunities. With fall comes leaves changing color, exciting town festivals, holidays such as Halloween and Thanksgiving, and cooler temperatures. Unlike fall, FFA continues to stay hot by offering rewarding and engaging opportunities such as a trip to National Convention, participating in a fall public speaking contest, various fundraisers, and other fun chapter activities.

 

As members of Missouri FFA and the National FFA Organization, it is our job to embrace and “fall” into these amazing opportunities. National FFA Convention and Expo is a wonderful opportunity for you to learn what agriculture is doing in other states and parts of the world. Also, National FFA Convention and Expo is a great opportunity for involvement in your chapter and to meet members that are from different regions of the United States and beyond. 

 

Halloween can be spooky, but fun, and so is public speaking. It is common to be spooked about the idea of speaking in front of other people. This fall may be a chance for you to overcome that fear and grow as an FFA member. I challenge you to meet your fear of public speaking head on and participate in a fall public speaking contest this year. Even though it may seem scary at first, it will be worthwhile in the end.

 

During this fall season, FFA chapters from across the state are right in the thick of chapter fundraising and activities. Make it a goal to participate in fundraising and other activities. These events are great in developing life skills and meaningful friendships.

 

Missouri FFA members, take advantage of these events and “fall” into opportunities.

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Malerie Schutt, VP
Oct 04 2022

Paving Your Path & Owning It!

As most are aware, school has been in session all around the state for some time now. While the thought of being back at school where you sit in a classroom for seven to eight hours of the day can be slightly gruesome at times, there are good things that come out of being at school. Homework in high school can be overwhelming sometimes, but the eye-opening experiences you get to endure throughout the process are a real treat, to say the least. High school is an amazing time to try new things and embrace opportunities that will only shape us to be better individuals. I can recall a time when I realized that school can be a lot more fun than what it is perceived to be at times.

 

My freshman year of high school, for instance, was one where I started out not sure what direction I wanted to go. As I was introduced to the various clubs and organizations, including FFA, I was hesitant to join any clubs that my friends wouldn’t. My main worry at the time was that I would be considered the “oddball” out of my friend group for joining an organization that I knew the rest of my friends wouldn’t have an interest in. At first, before I made the decision to join FFA, I had many discussions with my parents to validate if this was even the right choice for me. After sharing with them my reason why I was hesitant to join, my dad then said to me, “It’s pointless to worry about fitting in, do what you love, and forget about the rest.” While I didn’t take this advice to heart right away, I soon understood that my father was right. After spending my entire first year as an FFA member in fear of being different from those around me, I realized I didn’t get the best experience I could have in my first year. Instead of fearlessly owning my path, I allowed myself to worry about what others thought of me at the cost of my passions and what made me happy. After reflecting on this particular experience, I challenged myself to take the blinders off to ignore what others thought of me.

 

FFA members, I tell you this story only to encourage you to not make the same mistakes I did. If you ever have the feeling of uncertainty- of not fitting in, or if you’re unsure of whether the path you’re paving for yourself is the right one, I am here to reassure you that it is. Don’t rob or cheat yourself just because you’re worried about what others think of you because of your passions. Always remember that YOU are the one to choose your path, YOU are the only one who gets the benefits from the path you pave, and YOU are the one who is incredibly capable of so much. Missouri FFA, I urge you to own the path you pave, and be fearless in the path you choose. I promise you that you will have no regrets.  

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Audrey Jung, VP
Sep 02 2022

Set The World On Fire

College. That time in your life when you get your first real sense of freedom. For me, I had been dreaming of experiencing something other than my small town since my freshman year of high school. Four years later, and it was happening. I was buying dorm decorations, packing up boxes, saying bye to my family and friends, and leaving everything that I knew. My family and I drove into my dorm’s driveway the weekend before school started, and from the time I stepped out of the car to the time my parents left my dorm, the energy and excitement that was pumping through my body was one that I have rarely felt in my lifetime. This had been what I dreamed of from the day I turned 15-years-old. Several hours later my dorm was finished and it was my own little piece of paradise in this newfound concrete jungle that I would now call home.

 

 With adrenaline still pumping through me I eagerly hugged my parents as they walked out the door, and I began campus life. I went to all of the welcome week activities that I could. Most of these activities were focused on getting to know our classmates, our campus, and our school. One of the events that I went to was called the Rally in the Valley. At this event Missouri State University students all run onto the football field and spend the evening playing ice breakers and getting to know each other. During one round I was paired up with a boy and given the question, “What was your favorite memory from high school?” The boy started immediately talking about a weekend trip he took with a few friends where he got to appreciate their time in high school and soak up as much time as they had before they all left for college. He answered with a smile on his face and a sparkle in his eyes that showed me how happy he was remembering all of the fun times he shared with his friends.

 

Then it became my turn to answer the question, and I went blank. Sure I had a ton of fun in high school and I enjoyed every second of it, but I never really absorbed any key moments because I was never living in the moment. I was always so worried about what was next for me that I never took the time to appreciate the people or experiences that high school had given me. 

 

Leaving that football field and walking back to my dorm I took the time to stop by my mailbox and found a welcome gift from my parents. Eager to see what was waiting for me in my package I quickly tore through the snacks and candy to find the letter my mom had written to me. She wrote, “I can’t tell you how proud we are of you! Go set the world on fire! Love you to the moon and back, your proud papa and mama bear!” As I stood in the lobby of my floor surrounded by the people I had just met days earlier, I took the time to live in the moment. I knew that these people were the ones who I would want to remember and that this time with them was limited and a gift I would never be given again. I had found the people that would help me set the world on fire.

 

FFA members, as you finish your high school years never forget to live in the moment. Each day is a gift and should be treasured. Appreciate your peers sitting next to you in class, the staff that makes you feel special, and the precious time we are all given. For each and every one of you to set this world on fire and make it a place that each and every one of us are proud to call home, we must truly live in the moment and take nothing for granted.

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