By Sarah Naron
GRAPELAND – In honor of the 2018 National FFA Week, which began Saturday, Feb. 17 and will continue through Saturday, Feb. 24, three officers of the Grapeland FFA took some time to reflect on what the experience of being part of such an organization has to offer.
Spencer Martin, GHS sophomore and 3rd vice president of the school’s FFA chapter, became involved with the organization as an eighth-grader.
“My older sister and brother were in it, and just the fact that you got to go and do fun stuff; got to get out of school and work with your hands; get your hands dirty,” Martin explained when asked what led to his interest in participating.
Senior and FFA Student Advisor Hannah Turner was also inspired to join the FFA after seeing a family member’s experiences.
“My sister did it, and the things that she got to do in Ag. just kind of was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that,’ and I want to be able to become better at speaking and stuff like that,” Turner said.
For Taylor Pennington, junior and Vice President of the GHS FFA, her family’s lengthy history with livestock and watermelon planted an interest in becoming part of the organization.
“My parents and my grandparents and my great-grandparents have grown watermelons and raised cows since 1836,” Pennington explained. “So, it was kind of a no-brainer that I was going to be in FFA.”
As FFA officers, the students have had an opportunity to acquire and hone teamwork and communication skills.
“(We) help one another out and do what needs to be done in our Ag. chapter,” Martin said when asked to describe the role of the officers.
“We basically just work together and remind each other of things that we have to do,” Turner added.
While the officers hold different titles, Pennington said, the responsibilities of each position are the same.
“It doesn’t really matter how high or how low you are – everybody has the same responsibilities,” she explained.
Throughout National FFA Week, the officers provide farming facts during the morning announcements heard over the school’s intercom.
“We have a seventh-grade recruitment program – sometimes it doesn’t happen the week of National FFA Week,” said Pennington. “If it’s available, we do it then.”
When asked to identify the most vital lessons learned as a result of their involvement in FFA, the students named aspects such as communication, leadership and public speaking.
“I think teamwork is another big thing, because we really have to work together, or nothing would get done around here,” Pennington said.
The theme for this year’s National FFA Week is “I Can. We Will.” The annual observance, which encompasses the birthday of George Washington, was first celebrated in 1947 and is sponsored by Tractor Supply Company.
For more information on National FFA Week or the organization, please visit www.ffa.org.
Sarah Naron may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.