FFA changed my life. It has given me the confidence to live my passions, pursue my dreams and always help others.
Being raised on a fifth-generation family dairy farm, I grew up loving agriculture. In high school, my ag teacher, Mr. Mike Earll, ingrained in us to do what you love and always lend a helping hand.
Some of my favorite memories include spending hours working with my classmates at Hawkeye Point to make Iowa's highest elevation point a place worth visiting. I remember riding the four-wheeler with visiting state officers when an untimely snowstorm passed through and they got snowed-in during their school visit. I remember wearing my jacket three sizes too big and Mr. Earll telling me, "you'll grow into it."
I love those memories. As I work to start my own business, these memories are a constant reminder to take pride in the little things, just like our community took pride in Iowa's highest point. They remind me to make the most out of unplanned situations and have some fun while you're at it, just like we did on that snow day with the visiting state officers. They remind me that when you work hard and trust in the process, you will grow into it, just like Mr. Earll promised I'd grow into my oversized FFA jacket.
I feel fortunate to have had an incredible ag teacher who believed in me more than I believed in myself. I feel fortunate to have been provided opportunities through ag class, my SAE and different CDE's to grow in essential life skills, such as public speaking, teamwork and leadership. I feel fortunate that FFA instilled values in me that are all too rare in today's world.
Because of these lessons and opportunities, I had the chance to serve as a chapter officer, a state officer and eventually a national officer. The FFA instilled in me the confidence needed to graduate from college and step forward boldly to start my own business. FFA members are some of the luckiest students in high school today, because they gain not only incredible knowledge and skills, but because they are provided an environment to gain incredible values that set them up to be incredible leaders in their future careers. These are the students in whom I wholeheartedly place my hope for the future.
We need to continue to encourage them to do what they love and always lend a helping hand!