At the end of October, FFA Advisor Haley Gifford along with five FFA members traveled to Indianapolis, IN to attend the National FFA Convention. This event brings in over 65,000 students from Maine to Hawaii and Alaska to Puerto Rico. On their travel to the convention they made stops in Chicago and Illinois for a variety of tours. Tours included a dairy product company called Schlueters that gave them a behind the scenes tour and a company called Troyer’s Saddlery that builds draft horse carts and harnesses. They were also able to watch a live cattle auction at Shipshewana Trading Post that was something new for most of the students to see!
During their time at the National FFA Convention, the group had the opportunity to participate in the opening session with floor seats! Students joined their peers to build a big tunnel for the FFA National Officers to run through as they entered the opening session. The energy was big and excitement filled the venue as the officers made their way onto the stage and continued as they gave motivational speeches. To continue the excitement, students had the opportunity to attend a live rodeo and concert with Lauren Alaina and Jimmie Allen.
A major portion of the FFA National Convention is having the chance to walk through the large variety of vendors from all aspects of the agriculture industry and talk with colleges from all over the nation. The convention also offers a large variety of workshops that focus on building leadership qualities and how to give back to communities through service and sacrifice. At the retiring address, the National FFA Secretary, Jackson Sylvester, gave a moving retiring address that focused on his time in office and how he took a leap into the world of service and how rewarding it has been for him. Haley Gifford, Arcadia FFA Advisor, stated “The reflections that the students shared after the retiring address really showed how important it is for students to attend events like these. It was a moment of vulnerability from these students that I had not yet seen and it was inspiring to listen to!”