Kansas FFA Blog

Always Remain Persistent

There is one thing I dreaded about going off to college—and that would be the parking lot situation. Now, I am very grateful for the parking lots, but actually parking my car can be an experience.

The very first time I tried parking my car in this lot was something I thought would not be so difficult. As I entered the parking lot, I expected for a spot to be waiting for me in what I call “the front lot.” I placed a lot of hope into that thought. Row by row, and spot by spot, I persistently kept thinking I would find the spot. However, eventually, the parking spots ran out to where I had to go to the “back lot”, where I would finally find a parking spot for my beloved Chevy Impala.

Now, I have moved my car and have found multiple different parking spots since then, but there is one thing I always have to tell myself. “Persistence is key.” With patience and persistence, I always know I will be able to find my spot, whether if there is one in the “front lot” or not. I realized that we must remain patient and not expect for things to come immediately.

Scholars Bowl in high school tested every little bit of persistence I had. We would practice every Wednesday at lunch, going over questions preparing for us for all of our meets. But there was always one question that I could never get right. We would be asked the same question every practice, but I could just never answer it correctly. However, I never gave up. I always would write down the answer, ask myself the question every day, and understand the question when asked differently. Through it all, I remained persistent because I wanted to know the answer. I knew in order to be successful, I could not expect it to come to me, I had to have the persistence to go find it.

Always remain persistent. Whatever you set your mind to, fight for it. Long for it. Simply, do it. We can be persistent in our schoolwork, in our passions and interests, and in our struggles. It may not be easy, and it will take time, but if we allow ourselves to keep persevering, we will reach to what we are hoping for.

Let’s always walk each day with Persistence.

When something stands in your way, be persistent. When you face failure, be persistent. When we set our mind to something big, be persistent.

Never give up. Keep your head held high.

Always be Persistent.

Elizabeth Wright

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To The High School Senior

This past Friday I returned to my hometown of Wilson, Kansas for the annual homecoming ceremony. It was much needed time to reconnect with teachers, friends, family, and members of the community I had not seen in a while. While I enjoyed watching my Alma mater play some pretty good football, I started thinking.

A year ago, I was in the same spot as those seniors. Going through their final year of high school and about to enter the big world of college and life. Thinking about being in that position there was lots of stuff I wanted to say to them and show them, but I didn’t know how to put it. How could I explain that when it’s over its over? High School isn’t always the best or greatest time of our lives, but there are many things that happen in high school that won’t happen anywhere else.

To the high school senior going throughout this year, don’t freak out, this year is a tough one. You may be trying to figure out what you want to do in life, what you want to do after high school, and many more of those big questions. All of that is okay, life is a journey, a marathon not a sprint. You only have one year of high school left, go to the football game and pep rally, go out to sonic with your friends, and dance like no other at the winter homecoming. You may be counting down the days to graduation and trust me it will come soon enough. I have some regrets, and chances are that you will too. Set a goal and be intentional about having as few regrets as possible

Also, as you go through those final days, say thank you to those teachers and staff that helped you. They greatly appreciate those kind words. Make amends with those people you make not be on the best terms, make new friends with the younger classes, and make memories one last time with those life-long friends. Never ever forget to tell your parents for helping you to make it this far and that you love them. When you walk across the stage for the final time and grab that diploma, it’s over. You may take the last class photo together and not know it. Afterward, everyone will move on to the next great adventure, some together and some not. So, enjoy every moment left of high school.

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Sitting on Every Seat

What is the first thing as a kid you remembered when you entered the state fair? Was it the loud noise? Bright lights? Powerful messages from every single vendor trying to sell you something? When I was a little kid holding on to my mom’s hand, there was only one thing I wanted to do, and best of all it didn’t cost any money for my parents. Sitting on tractor seats.

I could not wait to climb up the three or four steps to what I thought was a throne. I was on top of the world (when in reality I probably only was ten feet above everyone in the dealer display). The wonder of how big I would have to grow to reach the petals and operate all these big machines. After five minutes I would have to climb down and take mom or dads hand and move on down the line. Then at the next farm equipment dealer I would want to try out every single machine again. After a few hours of looking through displays that probably should have only taken about an hour I finally finished. Then it was off to the other parts of the fair.

The last time I did this was around the time that I began showing sheep at the Kansas State Fair. So now my State Fair Days were taken up in the Sheep, Goat and Swine Barn at the opposite end of Kansas State Fair Grounds. The focus of my State Fair became about the competition and being on top to the throne in a different way. After many years of showing at the Kansas State Fair it wrapped up this year on the green chips of the Grand Drive and Gala.

But what causes this… many of us wonder what happened to the “GOOD OLD DAYS”. Basically, as we get older, we start to focus on the reward and not the excitement about just existing. In this we lose ourselves in the rat race of life. We move to a point where we and wondering what happened and question why we don’t do “IT” anymore. Soon though we are caught back up in the rat race and we lose these thoughts.

Working Spongebob Squarepants GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The second weekend I when back to the State Fair to help with the FFA Barn. I had a little bit of time to look around again. As I walked down the road, I decided to climb on a couple tractors. This was a moment of great reflection as I looked down on the fairgoers that did not seem quite as small as I remember. I was able to rediscover why I was excited about the state fair originally not the ribbons, the food, or the attractions. The simple thing of just sitting on a tractor and looking around.

In school, work or life do you ever find yourself going through the motions and not putting your full effort into why or what you are doing? Is there times that you need is something you cannot define?  But then you remember it and forget it. Have you always looked toward the sunset or the sunrise and wondered what “IT” was?

Now pull out your phone……

Set a reminder for six months from now….

Tell yourself …… rediscover “IT”

Living to Serve,
-Lukas Sebesta

 

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Who am I?

Who am I?

 

People often ask, “What was it like running for a State FFA Office?” And the typical response is, “Well it was pretty tough, but overall very worthwhile.” What most people don’t realize, however, is that some State Officers, including myself, have thought about dropping out of the running.

It never crossed my mind I wanted to run for an office position until the end of my junior year of high school. I had just been elected to my position on the Southeast District officer team and it briefly flickered across my mind, maybe I could run for a state office? Then just as quick as it was there it was gone as I began working on other events and activities.

Several months later, I was halfway through my senior year of high school and it was time to fill out the Intent to Run forms for all those that wished to apply for the candidacy. The form was quite simple, so I filled it out and sent it in. After I sent in that form the doubts came. “Should I go through with this? Is this what I want? Am I worthy of even being a State FFA Officer?” But it was still early in the process and I pushed aside the doubts and moved forward.

Then the first Growth Interviews came. They didn’t count toward the process “scoring,” they were just an opportunity to get a taste of what the process at state convention would be like. The interviews went okay and after everyone finished their interview, we all gathered together for feedback. I looked around at the very prominent and well-known faces and the doubts came rushing back.

Over the next several months I would have more doubts and internal questions. Twice I talked with my Advisor about dropping out. Twice I talked to my family about dropping out. They supported me 110%, so I decided to stick with it.

The week before convention and the beginning of the final stages of the process were the last time that these doubts and insecurities came to me.

“Is this the right thing to do?”

“Am I deserving of this opportunity?”

“Am I capable?”

“Who am I to do this?”

Convention came and went. 13 candidates completed the process. Six were selected and elected to their respective offices. I was one of those six. I was so happy and excited, but after a few days the adrenaline wore off, as did the new, and the doubts came rushing back.

 

“Can I do this?”

“I’m not prepared.”

“What are those I serve going to think of me?”

It took weeks of training for me to answer a question so simple. The morning after we were elected, we did a reflection. I said during that time, “I am me, and we are we.” I didn’t truly understand what it was that I said at that time.

We all have different strengths, abilities, beliefs, aspirations, connections, and relationships.

Who am I?

I am ME.

You are YOU.

And we, are WE.

We all bring something to the table, and we are all stronger than we realize. It takes time to hone these things and be the best that we can be.

Dig deep. Answer the doubts that you might have with strength. And call upon those you care about to help you when you are struggling.

Who are you?

Dig deep,

Logan Elliott, President

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Free of Fear

I’ve been thinking about fear a lot recently.

I’ve been known to, more than once, turn down an opportunity because I was afraid I would fail.

My 8th grade year my piano teacher signed me up for the Pitt State Music Contest. I had to memorize a piece, then play it for a judge. I started to learn the piece Für Elise around Christmas time. By April, it was memorized, polished, and played to perfection. Competition day came and I sat at the piano in front of a crowd of peers and a judge who had her pencil poised over the score card. I froze for a moment, then began to play. My hands moved effortlessly in the right pattern… sadly I had started on the wrong note so I was in a totally different key. Deep breathe. I started again. This time, it was right. Until I messed up again.

Without the music in front of me, I totally blanked on my piece. I tried to find it, then I sat in defeat as tears came to my eyes. Eventually, the judge brought my book to me and I finished the piece by reading the notes. I cried a lot that day. All I wanted was to go home and pretend that it had never happened.

The next year, my teacher wanted to sign me up again. I was once again living in that moment of embarrassment, and I refused. She signed me up anyway, thinking I would come around. I put my foot down and made excuses and deals until finally she let me off the hook.

I was petrified of being in that situation again, but I told her that I simply didn’t want to. I said I was over competitions; music is to be shared, not judged. Instead of facing it head on and addressing what held me back, I hid.

Why do we do this? Ignore the fear as if that makes it non existent? I’m no better off today because I didn’t compete again. In fact, I have anxiety every time I play for someone because I didn’t overcome my fear. I robbed myself of the opportunity to improve because I hid.

Today, I will stop hiding from my fear.

I fear failure.

           commitment

           being yelled at

           snakes

           disappointing others

           people not liking me

           forgetting people’s birthdays

           chemistry exams

The point is, I fear a lot. Maybe announcing my fear won’t change anything; but now I have nothing to lose. There’s no point in hiding what I’m afraid of, because now the world knows.

My fear may never go away but by acknowledging it, I break free from its hold on me.

Acknowledging the fear is the first step, but sometimes it takes more. Every day requires me to grow and adapt to the new fears that sprout. Here are some ways I try to continue to let go of fear:

  • Know your purpose. In life, school, and relationships.
  • Make goals to stay true to those purposes.
  • Know what you value.
  • Understand that fear can compromise you holding true to those values. (I value honesty, but I fear people not liking me. Sometimes, I have to say the truth even when it isn’t easy)
  • Ask a friend to hold you accountable to acting even when fear hits. Be vulnerable with them.

These may seem easy at first, but if we are dedicated to a fear free life, it takes commitment and vulnerability to get there. We have to work towards it everyday, and sometimes that requires reminders. One of the ways I remember to use these hacks is by listening to powerful music.

One of my favorite songs is “Live it Well” by Switchfoot. In the song it says,

“I wanna sing with all my heart a lifelong song
Even if some notes come out right and some come out wrong
‘Cause I can’t take none of that through the door
Yeah, I’m living for more than just a funeral
I wanna burn brighter than the dawn

Life is short; I wanna live it well”

Today, I choose to break free from my fear. Whether the path ahead holds failure or success, by choosing to take the step I know growth is not far away. I’ve got one shot at this life, so why let myself be held back by something as pointless as fear?

What fears have you been hiding?

Will you choose to break free?

This is your life.

                  Live it well,

                  Abby Goins, Vice President

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The Day Is Uncertain

I’m sure we can all remember the Pocahontas movie scene where she is singing “Just around the River Bend”.  Life is a lot like that river with many twists and turns. At times just around the bend, there is a calm moment in life that is peaceful and allows one to feel motivated for what is to come. Other days just around the bend is a series of rapids and every time you struggle to overcome one you are hit by another before you can even recuperate. Sometimes you will get lost in the current and your life will flip upside down like a canoe. That’s when you decide, “Do I allow myself to be lost in a current or do I right my canoe and push on?”. I hope you choose to push on, because just around the river bend is another surprise. There is always a chance that it will be more rapids, but life will never give you more than you can take. There is also a chance that just around the river bend is a calm stretch of water and warm sun rays to warm your overworked muscles.

In South Africa there are many rivers, and one is called the river of Joy and another is called the river of Sadness. There was an expedition to see if a railroad could be built from a city all the way out to the Atlantic Ocean.  A man took his wife on this expedition and the more they traveled, the unrulier the terrain became. He decided that it would be faster if he and the men traveled on horseback while his wife stayed with the wagon on a river bank. He told her if he did not return in ten days she was to assume he had perished and head back to the city. After ten days he did not return, and his wife assumed he had perished. She mourned as she packed the wagon and decided to call the river she had been living on, the river of Sadness as she had lost everything she cared about while staying there. On her way back to civilization, she took camp at a different river. As she began to lay down for rest she heard rustling in the bushes. Then out of the brush came her husband and the other men. They had not perished at all and were just simply late returning! She decided then to name that river she was camping on, the river of Joy. Little did she know that the two rivers she had named eventually joined together as one further downstream. The river of Sadness is larger than the river of Joy, yet after they join, the river is still called the river of Joy.

There are many struggles in life, and many surprises around each bend. There’s a chance you will go through many bad days before you reach a good day, but the good days always outweigh the bad. Use the promise of better days as motivation to find better ways even through the challenges that life will give you.

Living to serve

-Krissy

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Thanksgiving in April

Take a moment and examine the screen that you’re viewing this blog through. If you happen to be particularly clumsy like myself, that screen might have a few cracks and chips on it…or maybe an entire spiderweb of broken glass.Image result for photo of broken iphone screen

Sometimes these broken screens show up without our realization, but most of the time it happens after a tragic drop. For me, this drop happened after my hand slipped while opening a door. The phone flew and hit the ground face down with a sickening *splat*. Naturally, my reaction was just like this

This unfortunate series of events has led to plenty of blurry selfies, glass cuts on my fingers, and no more Apple facial recognition. But I realized something very important during all of this. For the first time in a long time, I had an unblemished phone screen for 3 months (which is truly a miracle for me) and when it finally cracked, I realized I had taken that luxury for granted. I never appreciated the screen when it was here, I only missed it when the screen finally became broken. Far too often, we take for granted the goodness around us. Maybe it’s in the people who support us or the individuals who make our lives easier. It’s essential for all of us to appreciate those individuals especially when we’re not in a season of gratitude.  My challenge to readers today is this:

Find 5 people who deserve your gratitude. Write each of their names down, and make an effort to thank them verbally in person or through a phone call.

I hope you’ll find that taking a moment to appreciate that goodness will foster more gratitude and help later on.

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

William Arthur Ward

Living to Serve,

-Michael Dowd

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Shoot for the Stars

When I was younger, I had a serious fascination with the stars and the moon. So much so, that my grandmother got me this moon night-light that was about a foot in diameter and could go through all the phases if the right button on the remote was pressed. My father and I had an evening tradition where he would come in and turn on my moon and say good night. Takes the saying “hung the moon” to a whole other level! Recently, while packing the garage of our house in preparation to move, I found that moon once again. It instantly took me back to those thoughts of my grandmother and my father. It’s crazy how much of an impact simple objects can leave on a person, but what is more surprising is our ability to give these objects so much meaning.

Staying on the topic of astronomy, I would like to refer to constellations. We know through science that they are simply stars formed in peculiar patterns that really have no scientific evidence or structure for the objects they often represent. However, history tells us that each and every collection of stars was put together in the sky for a different reason. Some stories recount tales of love, while others recount tales of danger and heroism. Whatever the tale and whatever the mythology behind them, the simple fact is that humans, yet again, gave significant meaning to something that was created randomly.

My question is, if we can give such fantastical meaning to inanimate objects, can we not validate the work of our friends and family the same way? Why don’t we recount tales of our friends’ heroism in conquering their fear? Why don’t we fantasize the tale of how our parents met? Maybe it’s because these stories aren’t as fantastical as we would hope, but the fact still remains that we often go day-to-day thinking our lives are trivial and boring when all it takes is a change in our mindset to make our lives more fantastical and full of meaning.

Go find who hung your moon. See what constellations give you meaning and shoot for the stars!

 

Forever Blue,

Scuyler Zenger

Kansas FFA Secretary

 

 

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KS FFA Officers- Pawnee Edition

Over the last 9 months, our state officer team has grown to know each other on a VERY personal level. Whether we’re living out of a suitcase for weeks at a time, prepping for a conference, caravanning to an event, or flying halfway across the world, we’ve all been through thick and thin together. After all of this, what could be better than a side by side analysis of our personalities compared to Parks and Rec Characters? Now, these personality traits are NOT 100% PERFECT, but I’d like to say they’re pretty accurate, enjoy! (Disclaimer: quotes are from the show, not the officer!)

happy chris traeger GIF

Max Harman- Chris Traeger

  • Unwaveringly positive
  • Enjoys a ~quality~ facilitation
  • Always excited for literally anything…especially science and leadership
  • BIGGG running guy (in high school)
  • “There is literally nothing that you can’t do”
  • Great with names
  • Huge hearted and passionate about serving

 

parks and recreation treat yo self GIF

Michael Dowd- Tom Haverford

  • Prefers everything brand name
  • Small but feisty
  • Owns a pair of stylish sunglasses
  • Still uses terms like swagtastic, groovy, and legit
  • “Treat yo self”
  • Tries to be a business man but enjoys policy more
  • Sometimes over extends himself but only because he cares about lots of stuff, yo
  • Uses spunk to bring the department together

 

parks and recreation mic drop GIF

Scuyler Zenger- Ben Wyatt

  • LOVES calzones (from Jeff’s Pizza)
  • Did finances n stuff in FBLA and accounting
  • Is a registered Knight (of Columbus for Scuyler) (of the UK for Ben)
  • “(every single pun every made by either person)”
  • Incredibly devoted to specific TV Shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Teen Wolf, and Game of Thrones
  • Mature, thrives while working
  • High key celebrities in their fields (@FFAstylesquad)
  • Has a slew of information readily available

april ludgate wolf GIF

Krissy Isle- April Ludgate

  • Quirky and sometimes scary
  • Not afraid of dead animals
  • Uses snakes and other vermin to prove a point (sometimes in a roommate’s bathtub)
  • “That’s gross. I love it”
  • Lives by the tough love philosophy
  • Appreciates all kinds of animals and wants to be a vet
  • Genuinely cares about her work
  • Exceptionally creative
  • Has a soft spot for helping with people

 

rashida jones GIF

Miranda Depenbusch- Ann Perkins

  • Has a problem with falling frequently
  • Is nice to every single human being on the face of the Earth
  • Despises running
  • Loves children
  • “Ok, but we should talk soon because I almost bought a toe ring the other day”
  • Has crazy eyes (occasionally)
  • Hugs are mandatory
  • Gives her love selflessly to everyone around her

 

oh my god wow GIF

Garrett Craig- Andy Dwyer

  •  Comically hilarious and occasionally witty
  • Naturally born theatre guy aka Burt Macklin and Johnny Karate
  • Casually aloof- can be spotted running into doors or ripping pants
  • Was in a rock and roll band (or Tiger Choral, same thing right?)
  • “The bad feelings make me feel sweaty”
  • Has/wants to take a women’s study course
  • Kind, caring, and loyal
  • Passionate and will devote fully to the right cause
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The Humanity of Agriculture

What is unique about agriculture? Out of all of the other disciplines that mankind has developed over the years, what makes agriculture “our wisest pursuit” as Thomas Jefferson told George Washington. Why is agriculture always going to be one of the most important subjects studied? I think the answer to all these questions is the same– people.

Agriculture connects us all as a global population. There is a uniqueness that is relatively humanitarian found in the area of providing for basic human needs.

From there I can tell you why I am passionate about FFA and Agricultural Education. There is no other organization like it, especially one that promotes agriculture, which is an industry unlike any other. What agriculturists do day in and day out, is providing the building blocks, the essentials tools, the basis of our everyday lives– whatever you want to call them– the things we take for granted every day that allow us to do what we do. It is more than farming; it is everything farming becomes. The food, fiber, and fuel produced are what drives our ability to exist as we do. Without those things which wouldn’t exist without agriculture, humanity as we know it would look extremely different.

People may argue that other industries like technology have shaped the world more, but I disagree. What has allowed advances in any industry, whether it be automotive, pharmaceutical, or electronics, those technologies were developed because the people developing them didn’t have to worry about food first. Agriculturist embraced changes early on that created an environment in certain cultures of humanity that allowed for less uncertainty and instability when thinking about one’s next meal. With that said, when we worry less about food, we begin to advance other areas. Without agriculture being there to support those other advances, once again, humanity as we know it would look extremely different.

When people ask me why I want to be an agricultural educator, or why I was involved in FFA, and then ask me why high school agricultural education is necessary, I tell them about the leadership and the personal growth. What I need to be more intentional about is including the importance that agriculture plays within humanity, and that FFA and Ag Ed are great ways to open doors and clear paths for students who want to make an impact. I would challenge those reading this to do the same.

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