While scrolling through social media, I came across this quote, “You can’t give your life more time, so give the time you have left more life.” Somehow, we come across the right things at the right time. I knew that for my next blog, I wanted to write about life; living life, finding happiness within life, and of course, losing life. Recently, within our FFAmily, I have seen a few lives lost. The last duty I thought I would ever have serving as a Kansas FFA State Officer was to attend a funeral, let alone two funerals, in my blue corduroy. Like any experience within FFA, these experiences have taught me lessons and grown me as a person. The biggest takeaway being that life is short and beautiful and the people around you are what make it that way. Keep reading to learn more about these special individuals and what they have taught me and countless others about how to live life.
I met Makenzee Cupp when I was a junior in high school. We had both been slated as Southwest District Officers and ultimately got elected to our respective positions. Before I had actually met Kenzee, I knew that she could light up any room and had never met a stranger. After we got elected, she immediately ran over to each of us and gave us gigantic hugs (which is surprising because she was a very small individual). She strived to make everyone’s day brighter with her loud laughter, crazy socks, and endless smiles. Kenzee taught me to love Jesus, find the good in people and most of all treat everyone you meet like your long-lost cousin. Sadly, Kenzee couldn’t give her life more time, but she spent all of her time full of life.
This next individual was never a close friend or my own teacher, but I can proudly tell you that he has made so many impacts on my life and the lives of his students.
Mr. Eddy Koonce was the agricultural education teacher in a neighboring school to mine. Honestly, before ever meeting this man, I was absolutely terrified of him. He was this old-timey cowboy that literally looked like the wisest man I have ever seen. After getting up the nerve to introduce myself, I instantly knew that although he was pretty close to the wisest man I have ever met, there was no reason for me to be scared of him (unless we were competing against him in livestock judging). He had a passion for the agriculture industry, but he was most passionate about teaching his students. Not growing up in his classroom allowed me to see just how impactful he was on his students. Mr. Koonce knew how to make students feel welcome despite their social status, agriculture background or home life. The students of Elkhart knew that the ag classroom was a place they could call home. He spent his time making others realize their lives were worthwhile.
Now, those of you who knew these individuals I’m sure have way more memories, stories and lessons that you can share about them. However, I think we can all appreciate one lesson that we have all learned from their time on this earth. That is to spend every second of your life living it to the fullest. Do what makes you happy, dance like nobody’s watching, make someone’s day, and be the reason that someone smiles. There are so many ways to live our life to the fullest, you just have to find the reasons that make life worth living.
Please know that through these difficult times, you are not alone. We are here for you. Your family is here for you, your friends are here for you and your FFAmily is here for you. If you are struggling reach out because there are so many people waiting to give you a gigantic hug like Kenzee or let you know that you belong like Mr. Koonce.
Kansas FFA give the time you have left more life.
Bailey Sipes, Kansas FFA State Secretary