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Focus On Now

Madison Bader, VP 2018-19

Madison Bader, VP

One of my favorite times of the year is spring. While it is probably the busiest time, with planting, conventions, contests, and end of the school year events, it is full of so much energy and happiness. Still, it can be stressful. You want to be done with school and be outside, but you are stuck doing tasks that seem boring and tedious. I assure you, I am the same way. By the time it gets warm outside with the flowers growing and the sun shining, I would rather be outside and soaking up the rays than doing paperwork.

 

Looking back, I wish I spent more time focusing on everything I did in FFA instead of wishing I was doing something else. Dont get me wrong, I loved planning and putting together banquets and studying for career development events, I just wished I spent more time living in the moment rather than taking for granted my time in this organization. I would do anything to have another year in my home chapter with my friends I have been with since grade school, but God has bigger plans for me, and in order to accomplish those plans, we all have to move out of our comfort zones and into the world that FFA has prepared us all for.

 

So to all of you out there wishing this year was over and it was summer vacation, take a deep breath and know these times go quicker than you think. Someday you will miss filling out those applications and doing those tedious tasks. We all have big things in store for us, but we always need to appreciate and acknowledge what got us there in the first place.

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Breaking Barriers

Paxton Dahmer, President 2018-19

Paxton Dammer, President

Throughout our high school careers, we often hear our advisors tell us, “You get out what you put in!” This is the case for me, at least. Our advisors are often our main source of inspiration and motivation, and although we tend to dismiss their advice and move along, they are pushing us in the right direction.

 

Missouri FFA offers us endless opportunities to develop leadership and personal skills. As I entered my freshman year, I hadn’t quite reached my full potential. With a push from my advisors, I broke through my shell and discovered the “soft skills” that FFA promotes such as public speaking, teamwork, networking and creative thinking. Breaking our personal barriers isn’t always easy, but it is an essential step in our journey.

 

For me, this happened at HYMAX (Helping Youth Maximize Agricultural Experiences) Academy. Spending a weekend with other members that were my age from each area of the state reassured me that FFA was the organization for me. I still remember learning about methods of “AGvocating” for our industry over the course of the academy. HYMAX taught me countless life skills that I have applied to the rest of my FFA career, and I have no doubt that it introduced me to some of the most passionate people I know.

 

As we finish the school year, I look forward to spending the summer traveling the state and meeting members as we break through our personal barriers and discover success! If we take the advice of our advisors, we have the skills it takes to be successful!

 

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My Missouri FFA Paradox

Rhiannen Schneider, casual

Rhiannon Schneider – Vice President

Merriam Webster defines a paradoxical situation as one that has seemingly contradictory qualities or phases. When reading this definition, I decided that paradoxical was the perfect way to describe Sat., April 14. As a few of my teammates and I gathered around the picnic table outside of the Missouri Cattlemen’s building, awaiting the announcement of the 2018-2019 Missouri FFA State Officer Team, we were sad. We were sad because just over 365 short days ago, we were in their seats. We were in this building, in these chairs, and even feeling these same emotions.

 

Yet, even as I sat there with a little bit of bitterness, I couldn’t help myself from paradoxicallysmiling. Although I know that my journey in this FFA jacket is quickly coming to an end, I also know of the greatness that this new team possesses. I know that all 16 of its members have an undeniable passion for not only the blue and gold, but also for the entirety of the agriculture industry that we so proudly represent. I know that this team will serve our association with pride. I know that Adriene, Allie, Andi, Audrey, Chloe, Dillon, Hannah, Hattie, Madelyn, Madison, McKenzie, Paxton, Quentin, Regan, Ryan and Shelby are world changers. And, I can’t wait for FFA members to meet them.

 

Aristotle once said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Greatness then, is not an act, but a habit.” To the future leaders of the Missouri FFA Association, let yourself be great, just like we know you will.

 

To the entire Missouri FFA Association, you have risenfar above expectations this past year. Keep working, keep learning and keep rising, because you posses greatness, and seeing that unfold is a special thing to be part of.

 

It is truly a paradox to wrap up my year as a state FFA officer. While I am oh, so sad that my journey must end, I am thrilled to see what the future holds. It has been real, it has been fun, and it has been real fun, Missouri FFA.

 

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The Greatest Show

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox – 1st VP

We all know how it feels to go to the movie theater — the anticipation of the trailers before the movie, the tasty popcorn, and of course the movie that is going to be seen. I love going to the theater and seeing the new movies that I find trailers for over the television.

 

Recently, I saw the movie “The Greatest Showman.” The movie shares the differences among a group of individuals in a circus act. Throughout the movie, challenges are faced and later the cast must overcome obstacles each faces while performing. In the end, the entire cast all come out successful as a team and create the greatest show known to man. I absolutely fell in love with the concept of the movie! As I reflected later on what I had seen, I realized the film has so many different meanings. In fact, the movie really relates to the conclusion of our year in the FFA.

 

State convention is just one month away in the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Missouri. As FFA members, convention is our greatest show. It’s our time to show off what we have been working on for the year. Just like the characters in the movie being different in their own way, we are also each different. We all bring a unique and different skill set to our contest teams, speeches and especially our FFA chapters.

 

The 90th Missouri FFA Convention is where we make up the greatest show. Together, we will all make up the greatest show of the year. I challenge you all to bring your best to the convention to make your team, chapter and state proud!

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Contest Commitment

Aaron Mott, casual

Aaron Mott – VP

It’s that time of year again; the days are getting longer, the sun’s shining a little brighter, and we can finally spend some time outside. It also probably seems like all of your classes are taking forever. And if you’re anything like me, you might be starting to spend more and more time daydreaming and looking out the window at the green grass and warm sunlight.

 

I know that right now it feels like the end of school is so far away, but I promise it really is just right around the corner. You see, I always found that it was hard to focus on school in the spring because I put my attention on the next FFA Career Development Event contest coming up.

 

I remember spending hours studying and practicing reasons and how good it felt when all that preparation finally paid off. I know that at times it might feel like the contest team you are on doesn’t apply to you or won’t help you out in the future. However, those skills you learn in a contest will stick with you for the rest of your life. Livestock judging helped me so much with personal development skills, learning how to speak to a judge and how to convey a clear and understandable message. Evaluating the livestock taught me to assess a situation from all angles and to make sure I check all the key points. It taught me how to look at something as an individual and how to compare two things together, and how to pick out the important standouts in a group of individuals.

 

Livestock judging makes a difference for me in my everyday life, and those skills I learned have helped me out in many situations such as in job interviews and in the college classroom. I use critical thinking and communication skills every single day, whether or not I am working with livestock on that given day.

 

FFA members, if you will commit to your contest team, give it your best and make the time to invest in your content, you will walk away with much more than just knowledge about that specific subjuect. Instead, you will walk away with practical tools that you can use in your everyday life, and that will help make you into the leader you are meant to be.

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Convention Advice

Mariah Fox, casual

Mariah Fox – 1st VP

Being a member of the Catholic church, one of the biggest events after the start of the new year is the beginning of the season of Lent. Members of the Catholic faith decide what they are giving up and what they are going to do better. When I was in high school, the beginning of Lent also had another strong meaning for me. When Lent began, that meant it was almost time for the annual Missouri FFA State Convention. The convention was the highlight of my year. Not only was I competing while in attendance, but I was also seeing old friends and making more memories in the blue jacket.

 

With the convention upon us, I want to give all of you FFA members three pieces of advice that I have found valuable over the years. First, get involved. There are so many activities at convention. Go to the career show, watch a session or even play a pre-convention game, but be involved at convention!

 

Second, do your best. Many of you have been prepping for convention for several months either on a Leadership Development Event, Career Development Event or in a proficiency area. When at the convention, do your best all the time. Show others that you put the time and effort into making your convention successful!

 

Finally, the third piece of advice is have fun! Convention happens only once each year. That’s why you must make the most of it while you’re there. Make new friends, compete against other FFA members and enjoy your time in the blue jacket.

 

Just like me, others experiencing the season of Lent challenged to do something better. Now FFA members, I challenge all of you to use these three pieces of advice while attending the up-coming state FFA convention and make the most of your time there. Convention is only two short months away! What are you going to do to make the most of the 90th Missouri FFA State Convention?

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I Won, I One

Elizabeth Knipp, casual

Elizabeth Knipp – VP

There’s only one game where players rival head-to-head, plan epic tactics and encode hidden obstacles: BATTLESHIP. This game is like no other and causes my sisters to go into complete competitive mode. As I sat on my grandma’s living room floor and watched a game unfold, I saw that Rosalee and Clara were in the midst of a classic heated battle as they maneuvered to try and outwit each other.

 

The game was headed toward the final showdown when all of a sudden Rosalee called out, “I won.”

 

Clara looked up at her and firmly stated, “No you didn’t, you haven’t sunk all of my ships!”

 

Rosalee looked up, smiled, and said again, “I won!” — proceeding with a firm “NO, you did not!!” from her irritated middle sister.

 

Slowly, for the last time, Rosalee stated, “I ONE, O-N-E!”

 

Clara finally understood what Rosalee meant, and everything became clear. She was no longer angry nor argued with Rosalee and resumed to play the game as she marked the ‘I one’ spot with her peg.

 

Oftentimes, these simple communication errors happen in our daily lives. Some are small, while others have damaging consequences. We think we are effectively communicating, when in reality our message is fuzzy, complicated and misunderstood. With the hustle and bustle of the spring semester — career development events, scholarship application deadlines and weather cancellations — the need for clear communication is essential. Every day, we need to be conscious of how we communicate to ensure we are relaying the correct message for others to hear.

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The One You Feed

Sydnee Mason, casual

Sydnee Mason – Secretary

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite things to do was listen to my dad tell stories. I would sit cross-legged on the deep freezer in the corner of his meeting room and listen while he motivated and inspired college rodeo athletes from across the country. Not much has changed since those days — the stories are the same and the only differences are the athletes in his program. I still love to listen to these honest, tried and true tales. One of my favorites is the following old Cherokee legend: Two Wolves.

 

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. “A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.

“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil — he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good — he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

He continued, “Sometimes, it is hard to live with these two wolves inside me, for both of them try to dominate my spirit. The same fight is going on inside you — and every other person, too.”

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, “Which wolf will win?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

Embracing the changes and endless possibilities that 2018 promises to bring might seem like a daunting task. Hopefully, we have all settled into those familiar routines of school, chores and homework by now, and we are ready to tackle whatever the second semester has in store. FFA members, let’s remember the wise words of the Cherokee grandfather. Whether we’re studying for a Career Development Event, memorizing our speeches for spring contest or simply investing ourselves in the Ag classroom, let’s pledge to feed the good wolf in 2018.

 

 

 

“Two Wolves” Cherokee Legend sourced from: http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/TwoWolves-Cherokee.html

 

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Footprints in the Snow

Elise Bailey, casual

Elise Bailey – VP

January has arrived and so has the snow. When I look out my window at a field of freshly fallen snow, it makes me want to freeze that landscape in time. I know in a couple of days that this field will not have perfect untouched snow on the ground; instead footprints will market its perfectness.

 

When I take a step in the unblemished snow, I quickly realize that every step I take will show. This image is a good reminder for us in life. The paths we make and the destinations that we reach are evident to those watching simply by the steps that we take.

 

As I look back on my trek through the snow, it is clear to see not only the distance that I have traveled, but also where my journey began.

 

Whether in our FFA careers, our educational adventures, or our journeys in life, this image holds a powerful meaning. It is important to be reminded that others are watching, and maybe even following, in the path that we’ve paved. At the end of the day, it is imperative that we look back on the lengths we have traveled and recognize the place where our journey commenced.

 

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Be Better

Abby Bertz, casual

Abby Bertz – President

2018 has arrived. Hopefully 2017 brought you much love, sacrifice and success. With 2018 we find new beginnings and the opportunity for better than we might have had last year.

 

As most of us find ourselves doing, I was recently scrolling through my Facebook feed. On this social media platform, I have friends from my hometown, around the state, nation and even world. Every day, the app provides me with opinions, pictures and memories from each of these people from all kinds of places. Yesterday, however, this app provided me with a special kind of motivation, motivation from a very special lady right from my hometown.

 

This favorite history teacher of mine pledged a word for 2018, something many have begun to do in place of a New Year’s Resolution. This word is meant to be a constant reminder, a solid aspiration, and a theme for the year. Her word? “Better.”

 

Ms. Stever pledges to be better. Not better than anyone, she says, but a better her—a better her for everyone. Every day, she will strive to “eat better, get better, think better, and love better, on and on.”

 

Just like Ms. Stever, we can embody “better” by thinking about how we can better ourselves, get better at being ourselves, and hold ourselves to a standard of better. We can be better friends, FFA members, siblings and students. There is, and always will be, room for better.

 

Better is progress. And, our starting points and progress will differ from every single person around us. That, friends, is the beauty part of “better.”

 

This year, let’s find what makes us better and what makes us want to be better. I know the organization we call home is a stepping-stone in this adventure. Allow it to by helping a friend with his or her upcoming Career Development Event, signing up for your first public speaking contest, going to FFA Camp, or even encouraging others to do the things that you found benefit from.

 

A better you for a better us, and ultimately a better organization, industry and world.

 

Like Ms. Stever, I pledge myself to be better. Will you?

 

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