The Fall at Pinnacle Park

Brenden Kleiboeker - President

Brenden Kleiboeker – President

One Friday afternoon, I went to the Pinnacle Youth Park, north of Columbia. On the wall of a rocky canyon, many people venture to test their hiking and rock-climbing skills. I had descended from the parking lot down a rocky trail, had ventured across the creek, climbed up the canyon wall and ascended to the second highest point in the park. After taking in the beautiful view, my friends and I decided to climb back down, so that we could go to the highest point – the pinnacle. After watching my one friend easily climb down, I knew that I could safely do the same. However, when placing my second foot on the boulder —slip. I fell nearly 12 feet off the rock, hitting my feet onto the solid ground below. Needless to say, I was rather sore after falling, but we decided to trek ahead. Finally, we came to the branch of the trail which goes to the pinnacle. At this point, I was weary. I did not want to fall again, so I convinced my friends not to go. We went back to the car that day, without achieving our goal.


FFA Members, on the trek to our goals or pinnacles, we often face falls which will scare us. We will have lingering pain that will tempt us that our goal is not worth it. When we decide not to persevere to our goal, we only cheat ourselves out of our potential. We cheat ourselves out of helping others. Luckily, I can drive back to the Pinnacle Park any day and achieve what I gave up on. However, we are not often this lucky. We have one chance to achieve our goal, and if we give up after a fall, the chance is gone. Though we will face falls in our FFA journey and in life, continue to persevere, because we only have one life to leave our mark. FFA members, reach your pinnacle this year!

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Live Life in the Yellow

Jessica Janorschke - VP

Jessica Janorschke – VP

The sun was shining as sweat dripped down my skin and fear ran through my bones. Standing tall before my classmates, I was on a high ropes course that we would soon conquer. As we harnessed ourselves to safety, our instructors told us the goal was to live life in the yellow. That is, push us out of our comfort zones.


With my lack of balance and fear of heights, there was little in my favor. The first set of obstacles consisted of two tight-rope like cables. The goal was to make it across with only a partner to hold on to. I was paired with Thaddeus, and we each put one foot on the cable, then another and another. My arms and legs were shaking as I gripped Thaddeus to ensure we didn’t fall. We swayed back and forth. Then, a gust of wind brought the fearful fall, but it only lasted a second. Laughing and dangling in the sky by our harnesses, Thaddeus and I helped each other up to finish the course.


After falling, I realized that there was nothing to fear. If I wouldn’t have taken the opportunity to live life in the yellow, I never would have experienced the adventure. The fact of the matter is, we must push ourselves to explore new opportunities to grow. This fall, we have the opportunity to present a fall speech or to work toward a successful SAE. Sometimes when we take the first step, we might fear of losing our balance. Our supporters, classmates and agriculture advisors are with us and can help us reach our goals, or in my case the other side of the cable.


FFA members, I challenge you to live life in the yellow.

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Don’t Be Afraid To Be The Difference

Isaiah Massey - 1st VP

Isaiah Massey – 1st VP

Fear: to be afraid of something that is likely to be dangerous, painful or threatening.


Everyone has his or her own personal fears. Some people are afraid of clowns, spiders and snakes but one thing we all share in common is that we all are afraid of being different.


Being different definitely is nerve wrecking, and I can attest to that on a personal level. My very first FFA meeting I attended was in a pair of cool grey Jordans and a shirt that was all white with a large bold black word saying “hustle.” I recognized very quickly from the surrounding AriatÒhats and boots that I stood out like a sore thumb.  At first, I was nervous, thinking that I didn’t belong here, that I was too different from everyone in the room, and they wouldn’t accept me for who I was. I remember being ready to storm out of that room as soon as the meeting was over just so I could avoid hearing the snickers and cackles that I drew up in my mind.


As soon the chapter president adjourned the meeting, I stood up and raced down the bleachers until I was stopped by a kid named Lucas Ellis. Lucas and I were classmates back in the 4th grade but hadn’t talked until that day after the FFA meeting — three years later.


I remember Lucas telling me that everyone was excited that I was there because not many people like me want to try understanding the world of agriculture.  I had spent this entire time worrying during the meeting that no one would accept me because I was different, but in fact it was the very reason of me being different that they accepted me.  In life, there will always be times where you will be different than others, and it will be scary. However, FFA members, being different is a beauty within itself.  It is where you can express yourself, be who you are and the best part is, there isn’t anyone else that can replicate your own personal identity.


FFA members I challenge you to be DIFFERENT.

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The Curse of the Photo Album

Drew Kientzy - VP

Drew Kientzy – VP

While spending Labor Day weekend at home, my Saturday morning began just as any other would — eating breakfast at my Grandma Janie’s house with my entire family. After the meal was over and the dishes were put away, one of my younger cousins came strolling into the kitchen with an old photo album. In just seconds, the book was sprawled across the table and everyone’s noses were buried into the faded pages.


About halfway through the album, my Grandpa stopped flipping pages and pulled out a picture of him on a tractor in 1973. After a few minutes of admiration and talk about the picture, Grandpa muttered “Yeah, those were the good old days, I only wish that I could go back for a while.” Following his declaration, we continued looking at the photos until my cousin that brought the album to the table spoke up and quietly asked, “Pop, why do you say that you wish that you could go back when you know you can’t. All that you can do is try to make next year be better and more like that one.”


At that statement, the whole room was taken aback. My eight-year-old cousin had just uttered some of the wisest words that any of us had ever heard, and though the idea in his statement might have not been a popular one, it was all too true. Now, I try to think of the past as merely a memory, good or bad, and only compare the present to what can be done better in the future.


As we move through our years in FFA, we must always remember to keep looking forward. Although there have been good times in the past, there is no way to re-enter that day. So instead of dwelling on the past and making the present and future less meaningful, let’s pin our eyes on the horizon of future opportunities, because we can never know when the most beautiful sunrise of opportunity might occur.

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Elizabeth Brooks - VP

Elizabeth Brooks – VP

Good ole’ August, the final month of summer full state fair shenanigans, school shopping, and my personal favorite, vacations! In fact, I was fortunate enough to spend my final days of summer soaking up the sun in Destin, Florida with my family. I spent most of the week on the beach, listening to the waves hit the shore and running away from seagulls that kept trying to steal my snacks. As I sat watching the waves, I thought about what a perfect metaphor for life waves are. Life literally comes in waves – there are moments when the waters are calm and life is just easy, and then there are moments when, no matter how great a swimmer you are, the waves just keep knocking you down (and maybe even stealing your sunglasses while they’re at it). But you know what, members? No matter how big the waves get and no matter how much life tries to knock you down, the waters will always recede, and life will always keep going. So, as the new school year kicks off, make this one the best one yet and remember that things will always, always get better!




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Tools to Success

Kate Thompson - VP

Kate Thompson – VP

Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia. A rare type of evergreen, it is seldom that you see them shed their leaves. It is a wonder they ever manage to sell rakes in the land down under. Nevertheless, it was a cool day at St. Matthew’s Catholic School when a young Kate Thompson stood with a rake held high above her head. She thrust the rake towards the earth, poking 16 fresh holes in the ground below her. She looked to her mother and said, “Mum, look what I did! I am giving the soil air.” Mum replied with laughter, “Well done, Kate.” Grinning with pride, Kate continued to poke 16 holes at a time into the soil around the grassy play area.


Now in hindsight, I realize that I, Kate Thompson, wasn’t really doing much to help. But it gave me some perspective. How often have we been presented with tools and opportunities that have the potential to do great things, but wasted them poking holes in the ground? How many times have we skated by, exerting minimal effort, instead of taking the reins to propel us as far as possible? As FFA members, there are many tools and opportunities at our disposal: public speaking, CDE and LDE contests, FFA Camp and summer academies, the friendships and connections we make. Let’s take full advantage of the tools that we are given.


“To whom much is given, much is expected.” -John F. Kennedy


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Stand Your Ground and Don’t Back Down

Matthew Morgan - VP

Matthew Morgan – VP

“Stand your ground, that crazy cow is not going to hit you. She is just bluffing.” I know my Dad is probably right, but 1,000 pounds of angry beef running full speed ahead towards you with her calf in between your legs can still be intimidating.  I quickly tag the calf, and to my relief the cow was bluffing.  The goal set fourth was accomplished.


I learned two things from that day.  1. It is always good to have a person you trust that is willing to back you up and encourage you when you need it. 2. When you’re faced with something that is challenging, you stand firm and hold your ground because you can’t reach your dream by giving in.


One of my favorite songs is I won’t back down, sung by Johnny Cash.  In this song Cash sings, “I’ll keep this world from dragging me down, gonna stand my ground.” It doesn’t matter what knocks us down, what matters is how we get back up and learn from those experiences.  When you hang out in the right places and with the right people you will soon do incredible things.  The friends you surround yourself with make a huge difference on you.  Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams even if they intimidate you.


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The Most Important Play, is the Next Play

Isaiah Massey - 1st VP

Isaiah Massey – 1st VP

It’s third and 14. We are down by 7 points.  The corners were playing deep, preparing for the pass.  As I survey the field, I call out my check downs. “45’s the Mike,” as I let my quarterback (QB) know the blitz was coming. I snap the ball, step back in pass protection ready for the linebacker to come through the whole.  I step back, and he breezes past me and tackles the QB in the backfield bringing up fourth down. He’s been beating me all game, and nothing has changed as he tackles my teammate in the backfield once again.  In these moments I could easily just admit that he’s a better player than me. I could easily just give up and accept defeat. Only three minutes remain in the game. But as my QB was sacked, my coach from the sidelines chanted our team motto. “What’s the most important play?” He would ask, and as one whole team we would shout in unison, “The next play.”


The opposing team takes the ball, and our defense sends them with a four and out giving us one last chance. One-minute left, with over 79 yards to go.  We break out of huddle. First play, 43 Dive. Our QB, Ryeil, hands the ball off to Collin, the running back, as he rushes for a gain of 15 yards. Still 64 to go. We set up, hurry up offense as Ryeil gives us the call, “Florida, Florida!” That means Wildcat Double reverse sweep on 2. Ryeil calls my teammate, Luke, in motion. As he hands Luke the ball, then the other receiver is handed the ball, who then secretly hands it to Ryeil.  I lead block for Ryeil, take down a defender as Ryeil rushes for 34 yards and steps out of bounds to stop the clock, 7 seconds left, with no timeouts.  We gather in the huddle and are signaled for our play-action pass. I grow tense because that means I have to block number 45 one more time. Every time I had to block him, he would escape and tackle Ryeil.  I think to myself: this is the next play. We line up at the ball, and I call my check downs once again. I snap the ball, and I watch the defender take his hesitation step to fake the pass coverage. He drills his left heel down and shoots out like a bottle rocket towards me.  I take a deep breath and use my leverage against his.  I lower my hips as I wait for the linebacker. As we initiate contact, I place my hands beneath his shoulder pads, and as my body is centered, I drive with all my force and lift the linebacker up in the air and slam him onto his back. His mouth piece flies into the air. Ryeil fakes the ball to Collin and passes it deep to Luke, and just like that we finish as victorious!


Through football I’ve learned the principal that the most important play is the next play, because life will always throw you hard times and obstacles that will bring you down and in times make you believe that some circumstances are impossible to defeat.  FFA members, it isn’t about how bad you miss the mark because failure is inevitable. It’s about how many times you get back up and rise to the occasion and overcome any challenge that you face because THAT is what will make you victorious.


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Alexandra Gast
Jul 26 2019

Conquer With A Positive Attitude

Alexandra Gast - Secretary

Alexandra Gast – Secretary

As the beginning of the school year is around the corner, a new season of change is upon us. We may think this is just another year, we may not see the potential of a fresh start, or we may be hopeful that this year will bring growth. No matter the situation, or the outlook you have, this can be your year.


Attending FFA camp as a sophomore, I had a few preconceived notions of what to expect. The hot days in the rec hall, the bad food, and the treacherous hike up and down the trail to the waterfront was not something I was looking forward to. I let others decide my attitude going into the week and didn’t take advantage of the opportunities that I had been given.


I tried to fill my time with activities at the waterfront and learning to like the food that was served in the dining hall. My time at Camp Rising Sun was not the greatest and I was ready to go home.


Applications came out for camp the next year and I was not going back. NO WAY and NO HOW. But you see, I forgot one vital detail my first time at camp- I did not earn my leadership medal. I had to go back, open-minded and ready to conquer a challenge.


That year at Camp Rising Sun, I stayed positive. I focused on my goal. I had some fun along the way. FFA Members, this school year will be what you make it. Go in with a positive attitude, ready to conquer a new challenge.


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Learn From Your Life Jacket

Jacob Knaebel - VP

Jacob Knaebel – VP

Watch Out! Those were the last words I heard right as the canoe I was in tipped over sending myself and another FFA member straight into the Lake of the Ozarks. When I woke up on Day 4 of FFA Camp, I never would have guessed that later I would be walking around completely soaked with my brand-new tennis shoes almost ruined. To say the least, things were not going according to my plans that day. As I clung to my life-jacket, bobbing in the water, I could not help but laugh as I realized the campers were never going to let me forget this embarrassing moment.


Throughout our time in FFA, we are always going to try and plan events out perfectly. Whether we plan on winning a contest or receiving an office, all members will undoubtedly experience those days when our plans get turned upside down. Instead of looking at these unexpected times as failures, they should be seen as opportunities to better ourselves.


The next day, despite the embarrassment from my previous attempt, I went back out on the lake. However, this time I was more experienced and knew what not to do in a canoe. Whenever we experience those moments where our plans seem to be ruined, we just have to remember to use our newfound knowledge to better ourselves for the future. To learn from our failures, we must always carry with us an open mind, an optimistic attitude, and in my case a life-jacket.

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