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An Open Letter to Kansas FFA

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As the time of Thanksgiving draws near, I have been reflecting on those around me and working express my gratitude towards all of them. On this incredible walk of life, I have several people beside me, being sure I am making progress on the right path.

The first people I must include on my list are my teammates – Ashley, Eric, Jocelyn, Lydia, and Josey. You are the reason the good times are amazing and the bad times aren’t so bleak. Laughing with you and discovering something new is my favorite thing to do. You nudge me towards promise by degrees. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you.

Our amazing state staff – Mr. Shoulders, Ms. Kane, Ms. Gaines, Ethan, Mr. Langvardt, and Ms. Anderes – are the reason anything gets done. Your constant work and diligence towards a standard of excellence for our members has allowed our FFA Association to thrive and grow. Your love for our mission and youth allows you to shine at your jobs. You are truly the most dedicated group of people I know and I cannot thank you enough for all you have done for my team, our association, and the youth of Kansas.

I wouldn’t be half of the person I am today without those who saw something in me that at times I couldn’t see in myself and pushed me to do more, be more, and love more. Mrs. Stover – your tough love, while not always appreciated in the moment, has taught me the power of perseverance and the value of hard work. Your classroom was always my favorite place to learn and the best place to have a life chat. Thank you for never letting me have any slack and talking me out of some of my (best) worst ideas. Mrs. Wallace – your love knows no bounds. Thank you for welcoming a timid Rachel on the first day of district officer retreat and making her feel at home. Every day with you is an adventure, a laugh, and a lesson in life. My fondest wish is to someday be half the advisor you are. Several others – Michelle Beran, Reece Geer, Karrigan Dunstan, Sarah Goss, Abby Johnson, Hattie Polson, Carley Snider, Artha Jonassaint – have changed the way I view the world and invested immeasurable time and love into me.

My family – Dad, Mom, Lukas, and Kiya – is my first support and the most important people in my life. I love you all more than I’ll ever be able to express.

And most importantly, I’d like to thank you – Kansas FFA members, supporters, and alumni – for this incredible opportunity to serve and leave an impact. Every time I zip up my blue corduroy jacket, straighten my scarf, and tuck in my tallywacker, I am reminded of the 10,000+ FFA members I represent daily and of the tens of thousands of Kansas FFA members who came before me, who laid the path to where I am today. One of my greatest joys is getting to work directly with you, for you remind me of the reason I serve: to make a change and leave an impact in the lives of youth around me.

Please remember there is a person here in the state of Kansas, in the city of Manhattan, who understands you and is willing to listen. After all, you never walk alone.

Proud to be by your side,

Rachel Sebesta

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Kansas FFA Vice President