2022-23 Officers

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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Allison Schneider, VP
Sep 02 2022

Breaking Comfort Zones

Rather than loading the trailer, I was loading my car to head toward the Missouri State Fair. This was the first time in nine years that I wouldn’t be exhibiting my swine at the state fair. While sad for me, I was still ready and excited to attend the fair. I knew my two weeks at the fair were going to be vastly different from those of past years. My schedule consisted of working the FFA building, goat, sheep and cattle shows rather than swine, speaking engagements, pictures, and a whole day at food insecurity. When I saw my schedule, I was a little taken back because I was hoping for free time to spend in the swine barn with my show family. Nonetheless, I knew I needed to put my best foot forward for Missouri FFA, I’m so glad I did.

 

While attending a host of events at the state fair, I met a whole new group of people that were amazing. I got to experience different parts of agriculture that are fascinating. I learned more than I ever dreamt I would. These types of situations come up in our everyday lives all the time; do we stay in our comfort zone, or do we reach out and learn something new? Do we stay set in our ways or do we learn from someone or something else? As we all adventure back to school this year, we will experience something unknown whether that be a new class, teacher, or even an entirely different  school. Know that while yes, this experience might be vastly different, it is all part of our growth. These are the memories, the experiences and knowledge that we pack in our minds no matter where our trip is going.

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Colton Roy, President
Aug 25 2022

Normalizing Weird

For most of us, from childhood we were told to blend into the world around us, but in reality we should let our differences define who we are. Growing up, others around me always had quirks or attributes that were different from my own that, to me, were “weird.” Over the last few years I came to the realization that being weird is normal, and it’s being normal that is truly weird. Like snowflakes, we are all different in our own unique ways, developed over time as a result of our individual experiences. These events not only shape the minute details, but also have an impact on our beliefs, our values, our perceptions, and who we are as people.

 

When I was younger, I often had preconceived notions of others based off of the way that they presented themselves; if their behavior or views differed from my own, I would almost automatically devalue the conversation. Luckily, over time I have grown to understand the value of others’ beliefs and have started appreciating alternative ways of thinking. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to attend the State Officer Summit in Washington D.C. With nearly 300 officers from around the country in attendance, I had expected there to be an array of diverse but accepting individuals; however, during one of the small group sessions I was quickly proven wrong. When asked to share our opinion on an array of corporations and organizations, the group was quick to label entities like the American Humane Society and PETA as “wrong,” “stupid,” and “ignorant.” Upon receiving the opportunity, I reminded the group that the individuals who supported and ran these organizations, like us, believe passionately in what they are advocating for and that we do not hold the right to belittle their beliefs for the sole fact that our experiences differed from theirs. We constantly find ourselves in similar situations, where others viewpoints aren’t aligned with our own, and it is important to realize that just because we don’t hold the belief, it isn’t inherently wrong.

 

Each and every day we interact with countless individuals that are different from us. As we have those interactions and live out our lives it is important to maintain harmony and accept others for who they are. After all, like us, the numerous experiences they have had have shaped their beliefs, which in turn determines how they view the world. 

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Kate Rogers, VP
Aug 14 2022

​​A Winning Mindset

When my alarm went off at 5 a.m., the day’s possibilities filled my head. The last county fair of the show season was set to begin in a few hours, and I could not wait! I had spent the previous days preparing my show pigs for this very event. The animals were washed, my truck and trailer ready, and the supplies gathered. It did not take long for my dad and I to load our hogs into the trailer, locate last minute supplies, and be ready to start the 45 minute drive to the fairgrounds. However, my hope and excitement quickly faded when I turned the key to the truck and realized we would not be going anywhere soon because it would not start. I knew that we had to find a way to get the truck running quickly if I wanted to attend the show. 

I did not want to miss out! After all, I had spent countless hours preparing. I love the show environment — working with the animals, spending time with friends and family, and growing my knowledge of the industry. I was frustrated that my truck would not start when I should have been leaving. In those moments of frustration, it is easy to get upset and focus on the negatives. But we must remind ourselves that we all face challenges we have to overcome. We can let our challenges prevent us from growing, or we can use them to become stronger. 

Eventually, after working for a while, we finally got the truck running again. However, the rest of our struggles did not simply disappear because the truck engine is running. There are always challenges that we must overcome, but if we have a positive mindset, we will become stronger. Grow through struggles, enjoy the process, and count your blessings!

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Jason Holland, VP
Aug 14 2022

Authenticity is Key

As the summer winds to a close, I reflect back on all of the great experiences I had. I traveled around the state, had a lot of firsts, and met a lot of amazing members. FFA Camp was a big part of my summer, and one of the biggest experiences that stands out was an interaction that I had during week six. 

 

We had just finished up the seventh elective leadership session, and the other officers and I were standing around talking to campers. That is when I was approached by two members from the North Harrison Chapter, and the first thing that they said to me was, “I’m glad there is a fellow gamer on the officer team.”

 

This might seem a little out of place, but it was in reference to something that I mentioned during my “Me in a Box” I presented during the session. I talked about how much of a nerd I am when it comes to movies, games and music. This simple comment led to a 30 minute conversation allowing me to connect with both members, and it never would have happened if I had not mentioned my love of games. It never would have happened if I wasn’t being myself.

 

This interaction made something click in my mind, and I realized how important it is to be yourself no matter what. If I wouldn’t have been myself in that situation I never would have gotten to have that interaction and meet two amazing people. There are going to be times throughout your life where you feel out of place, like you don’t belong, and think that you should act differently to try and fit in. Let me be the first to tell you that is never the solution. You will always find more success whenever you are your authentic self. You also never know who you may connect with or impact. 

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Jul 13 2022

Be Excited About the Things You Love

“The sooner you be you, the sooner the people looking for you will find you.” 

 

I stumbled across this quote by an unknown author while scrolling through Pinterest. I sure wish I had realized this sooner! 

 

I have always felt like a bit of an oddball. Starting in about 4th grade, I began to develop hobbies and interests that my friends found super weird. My brother and I watched the Kansas City Royals every night. I had never cared much for sports, but I loved hanging out with my brother and my dad and learning about baseball. Pretty soon, I memorized all the players by name and number. Then I started keeping track of batting averages, RBIs, and home runs. I was ecstatic when my family got to watch a Royals game in person once or twice a year. A few of my friends liked the Royals, but I was a little disappointed that no one at school followed them quite as closely as my brother and I did. 

 

In 5th grade, I really liked Star Wars. I watched the entire series several times. I read books about Star Wars, built the Millennium Falcon out of Legos, learned about George Lucas and the actors, and even dressed up as Padme Amidala for Halloween. Circa 7th grade, I got into a few really good book series. I could ramble for hours about Percy Jackson, Divergent, Harry Potter, or The Chronicles of Narnia. In 9th grade, I loved Broadway musicals like Newsies, Les Miserables, and Hamilton. To this day, I will completely nerd out over Marvel, Taylor Swift, Wordle, marching band, or whatever book I’m reading at the moment. 

 

Are you starting to notice a trend? 

 

Now that I’ve completely exposed myself about these super nerdy obsessions I’ve had, let me explain why these random interests have been a formative part of my life. 

 

At my small high school, there are only 14 students in my entire class! In such a small pool of people, I have often felt isolated in the things I love. This has caused me to suppress my enthusiasm and curate my personality to fit in with other kids my age. However, as I grew up and met people through FFA, I became more comfortable with the things that make me unique. I realized that even silly things like Star Wars and Hamilton can help me build connections with people who think like me. Although I was teased for being a “book nerd” in middle school, I now see how being an avid reader has developed my imagination and helped me in my written communication skills. All of my quirks make me special and human. I want to encourage you to be 100% yourself. Explore things that truly interest you and don’t be afraid to share your enthusiasm! Be excited about the things you love, because it will lead you to amazing friendships, exciting opportunities, and a strong sense of self.

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Emily Nelson, VP
Jul 13 2022

Look Beyond Your Differences

I found my family in FFA, but I still felt like the odd one out at times. Growing up, I was a city kid and didn’t know if I belonged in a rural dominated community. I loved all things agriculture and wanted to be really involved in FFA, so I applied to HYMAX Academy. I spent a lot of time and energy on my application, but unfortunately I was not selected as one of the 100 members that would attend.

 

I let my doubts get the best of me and didn’t grow from that experience. I started to realize how different I was from everybody else in FFA. I didn’t grow up on a farm. I couldn’t tell you more than a few breeds of cattle, and I didn’t know how to drive a tractor. These were not overly important things, but I felt like I was the only one who didn’t know them. I started to let my differences define me, and over the next few years I didn’t even apply to MAbA or HYPE. I felt like my differences made it so that I wouldn’t belong.

 

However, this year I got to attend HYMAX Academy, and I realized that our differences don’t make us outsiders, they make us unique. I belonged at HYMAX because I am passionate about learning and advocating for agriculture. It was my passion that connected me with the other HYMAX participants. Throughout the academy, I learned about several unique supervised agricultural experiences (SAE). Just because they were different, didn’t make them any less important. Differences actually help make us stronger as an organization.

 

Sometimes we go through life and set ourselves apart by looking at our differences. I let my differences define me, and didn’t even afford myself the chance to try new experiences such as HYPE. I let my differences hold me back. Learn from my mistakes and change your perspective. I challenge you to think differently. Find what connects you to others. We can all make the conscious decision to look beyond our differences and know that we belong as our true authentic selves.

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Cooper Hamlin, VP
Jul 13 2022

President Versus Precedent

When my chapter arrived at FFA Camp the summer between my junior and senior year, I was somewhat aware of what the week would look like. With it being my second time at camp I knew of the waterfront activities, tournament play, and the various leadership sessions that were in store for me. One thing new this week of camp: I would be running for a camp officer position! I was extremely passionate about making this week great for my fellow campers. After walking out of the interviewing room, I was confident that I received the office I was shooting for, president. However, this confidence was short lived, because when the state officer announcing camp officer positions read “vice president,” my name followed. I was disappointed and thought of myself as the first loser. For the rest of the day, I thought about how I should have interviewed better and how I would not have the honor of giving a speech at the end of the week.

 

At the end of the first day, something happened. After a guest speaker spoke to all of the campers, they told me that my vice president opening ceremonies truly touched them and that I could have a real impact on my fellow campers. This sparked a change in me and for the rest of camp I put everything into my camp officer position. I brought energy to opening ceremonies, encouraged members to give speeches, and interacted in every way possible during leadership sessions. Other campers soon started to compliment me. They came to me for help when they needed it, and the week turned out to be great. You see,  I was so focused on the title of president that I forgot I could set a precedent no matter what position I received. Too often we find ourselves letting labels restrict our potential. I encourage us all to strive to do our very best and leave a good example for others, no matter what position in life we are in. We must remember that leaving behind a meaningful precedent could potentially impact those around us more than a title ever could. 

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Annamarie Stone, VP
Jul 13 2022

Changing Your View

Hey, y’all, I am Annamarie and I love taking pictures. I live on a small diversified livestock operation in Audrain County. On the farm, I have a small herd of purebred Charolais cattle, two pigs, and cornish cross broilers, which aid me in owning my own business — Stoney Creek Meats and More. Through my business, I also sell mums and have determined the best way to produce the birds through my Agriscience Research Projects. 

 

When I am not on the farm or working at a boutique, it is almost certain that at golden hour you can find me behind my camera capturing moments of beauty. Recently, I had the opportunity to take engagement pictures, and I enjoyed every minute of it even though the session did come with some issues. The first issue was the lighting because we were outside and the sun was so bright it was hard to make the couple look their best without encountering glares from the sun. The second obstacle I faced was the brush that kept interfering with the pictures. While the pond was pretty and the field of wildflowers were gorgeous, the brush just seemed to keep get in the way of  my photo taking. 

 

Time after time, I stood in the same spot and tried to miss the brush by either bending down or leaning one way or the other. I just could not seem to miss those hurdles. I found myself frustrated and angry. Then it hit me. To get the result I wanted, I had to move and change what the lens was seeing to avoid the brush being in the photo. 

 

Sometimes life is like that. We know that we are getting frustrated with our situation and surroundings and try to come at the problem from different angles, yet we refuse to move because we are afraid we might just fail once again. My experience as a photographer is just like that. I got the lighting perfectly right to have the photo look the best, yet the brush was still intruding on my photos. I was afraid to move and start again. Once I relocated myself, I was able to get a better photo without the ugly eye sores. Our personal life can be just like that; relocating from a comfortable, yet problematic situation can be challenging but it is there where we might just get the best outcome.

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Malerie Schutt, VP
Jun 01 2022

Getting Involved in Summer FFA Activities

With the school year coming to an end, summer is probably the most prominent thing on your mind at the moment. If you’re anything like me, summer is the best time of year — no school, warm weather, late-night drives, time with friends and family, and more. But with all that, the summer activities FFA has to offer are considerably the best part of my summer schedule every single year. The excitement it brings me to meet new people, do things I have never done before, and learn new things about myself, this organization, and the agriculture industry is incredible. The opportunities offered this summer are endless! FFA camp, for example, is a great way to explore new interests and make connections with different people. 

 

Personally, Helping Youth Prepare for Excellence (HYPE) was one of my favorite summer FFA activities I have ever been a part of. This academy will test your limits as it challenges your speaking and research skills, integrity and credibility. This isn’t just the only activity I have enjoyed doing, however. From FFA Camp, Area Officer Institute, HYMAX, and MAbA, the doors are opened for everyone with interests of all kinds. 

 

FFA members, while it might be intimidating to join something that’s new to you, I strongly urge you to participate in at least one activity this summer that you wouldn’t typically partake in. One thing to remember is the only way to grow is by embracing change, if you stay comfortable with the normal, there is no growth in the process. As one of your  Missouri FFA State Vice Presidents, I would like to say how ready and excited I am to serve you this upcoming year. Let’s kick off this new year with an amazing summer filled with growth, new friendships, and memories that will last a lifetime! 

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