By:Kiara L. Jordan
The Centralia High School (CHS) FFA chapter recently went to the 96th annual National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, IN. CHS took nineteen students this year.
FFA National Convention is the nation's largest annual gathering of students with around 70,000 people. Students have the opportunity to explore career and educational opportunities from industry-leading exhibitors at the expo and participate in educational workshops and tours.
The Centralia FFA chapter had three agricultural advisors that supervised the group this year; Lori Lewis, Scott Stone and Rylee Williamson. Williamson thinks National Convention is a great opportunity to meet FFA members from across the country. “It also allows them to network with many major agriculture companies,” said Williamson.
Cassidy Collier, a freshman at CHS, went to National Convention for the first time. She has been active in FFA this year and Stone thought it would be a good idea for her to get even more involved. “I have learned to be more confident in myself and treat others with respect,” said Collier.
Sophomore, Khaynin McCubbin also went to the National Convention for the first time this year. This is McCubbin’s second year in FFA. Before students can attend convention they have to be an active member through a points system and raise money through fruit sales. McCubbin’s favorite part was being able to hang out with everyone and do something they all care about.
McCubbin hopes to continue going to convention in future years. “I want to continue going so I can develop better leadership values and be a better leader within our chapter,” said McCubbin.
During one session at this year's convention was keynote speaker Juan Bendana. Bendana, a renowned speaker, trainer, entrepreneur and author of the 100 Day Playbook talked to FFA members about their interest in growing their speaking skills and encouraged FFA members not to give up too soon.
When students were not attending a session or workshop, they were able to visit the college and career expo. The expo has agriculture related companies and colleges from around the country for students to network with. While in Indianapolis, FFA members also attended the World's Toughest Rodeo.
This year the chapter attended four general sessions at Lucas Oil Stadium where Centralia received a National Chapter Award. On the last day of convention Claire Bennett, Zach Schnarre and Annamarie Stone also received their American degrees which is a certificate showing the dedication and accomplishment of being in FFA. The American Degree is the highest level of achievement a FFA member can receive.
Bailey Schuering, a junior at CHS, has been in FFA for five years. Two of those years in middle school, and has attended the National Convention for three years. “What I have learned from these experiences is that it's okay to step out of your comfort and try new things,” said Schuering.
Next October you can be sure to see CHS FFA members back at National Convention learning new skills and making memories for years to come.