Collegiate FFA: National Convention Size Up
Posted on November 11, 2013 by Claire Donahue '15, Animal Science.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013: The first day of the 86th National FFA Convention; one would say it was overwhelming. The Delaware Valley College Collegiate FFA was to prepare for an oncoming swarm of 60,000 plus blue and gold jackets. Yeah, what a rush! Every student, alumni member, advisor, chaperone, and vendor all stood on common ground with a single purpose; their commitment to agriculture and agricultural education. The FFA National Convention is an annual expo designed to capture and test the knowledge of high school students competing in their respective fields at the national level. These students successfully competed regionally and are given the opportunity to compete against chapters from every state in America. There are many Career Development Events to qualify for, some being Forestry, Veterinary Skills, Livestock Evaluation, and Horse Judging, to name just a couple. Collegiate members often attend to network with other colleges, attend the career fair, and receive the highest degree in FFA, the American Degree. On the final day of convention, those qualified for this prestigious award are represented in an extravagant ceremony sponsored by the likes of Dodge and Wrangler Jean Co. The Delaware Valley College Collegiate FFA proudly announces that Magen Majeski, Lauren Rizzitano, Stephen Geib, Kacey Reinholtz, Rebecca Masse, and Jacklyn Shroeder all had the opportunity to walk across the stage, shake hands with the president of FFA, and receive that final dignifying award this year. Congratulations to them all.
Thursday, October 31, 2013: Well, its early morning and Louisville, Kentucky is on fire! The theme this year is Ignite, and at that it is. Louisville has done a wonderful job of welcoming the homecoming of FFA members from around the country. As the five of us awoke in tiredness and anticipation, we couldn’t help but notice the environment around us. As we drove the half hour from the hotel to the convention center, it was apparent that Louisville was excited to have us there. Many fast food chains have written on their billboards “Welcome back to Louisville FFA members.” Even the famous Churchhill Downs horse track, which we had the privilege of touring on Tuesday, had signs welcoming all 60,000 potential guests. The Delaware Valley College Collegiate FFA has one essential job while in the Bluegrass state. Our purpose in life, for this week, is to represent our school, our chapter, and make connections with high school students looking to study at the college. And the registration questionnaires are piling up! Many students from near and very very far have taken interest in our booth. Maybe it’s because we have Just Dance going on the Wii or maybe it’s because of our professional dress, informational catalogs, and splendid décor. We (being Advisor Zach Gihorski, Magen Majeski, Lauren Rizzitano, Jenna Dautrich, Kaleb Long, and, myself, Claire Donahue) would like to think that latter is true. When we weren’t manning the booth, we had the opportunity to attend the expo, audit workshops, and shop till we dropped! The expo was thrilling and filled with free merchandise from sponsors. There were sponsors from every avenue of agriculture willing to talk to students. One thing has stood out to me this year; the campaigns on education and development of programs to fight global hunger. Although we didn’t have time for workshops, aside from the hypnotist of course, we heard they were insightful and worth the while. The shopping was, well, shopping.
Check back at the end of the week for more on Days 3 and 4 at the National FFA Convention.