Colorado State FFA Convention brings students from across the state together | TheFencePost.com

Colorado State FFA Convention brings students from across the state together

Caden Callaway
for The Fence Post

FFA members were dared to be "Dauntless" at the Colorado State FFA Convention in Pueblo from June 5-7. Students from across the state came together to take part in workshops, business meetings, competitions, and to watch the sessions presented by the 2017-2018 Colorado State FFA officer team.

President Tiana Smith described her team as 10 individuals who were "meant to spend a year together." Since last June, Smith and nine other state officers, have been traversing the state together training, running workshops, visiting every FFA Chapter, and making appearances at many events, like the National Western Stock Show and the Greeley Stampede. The 2017-2018 team includes Tiana Smith, president, St. Vrain Valley; Cassie Franks, vice president, Olathe; Patrick Shields, secretary, Pueblo County; Brianna McBride, treasurer, Windsor; Rayce Coen, reporter, Lamar; Dillon Roesch, sentinel, McClave; and the executive committee, consisting of Bassil Ahmed, Bennett, Carina Ramos, Bennett, Dylan Solano, Hoehne and Hadden Wilkins, Yuma.

"I wouldn't change one thing at all," Vice President Cassie Franks said. "I think every single thing, every challenge that we faced, every issue that we had, only made us closer as a team and stronger as individuals." Smith said their success was an outcome of their morals and values being aligned throughout the team. "There was never a second guess as to what actions we were taking, or why we would do something. Also, our faith was always our core value to always go back to and lean on. No matter if something was hard or something was easy, that was something we relied on as a team."

During March of this year, these 10 individuals got the opportunity to go visit Vietnam and learn about their agriculture.

“I learned that I am more blessed to be an American, more so than I ever knew. We always talk about how much of a blessing it is to be American, because of everyday things, but it’s truly forgotten.”

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"I learned that I am more blessed to be an American, more so than I ever knew. We always talk about how much of a blessing it is to be American, because of everyday things, but it's truly forgotten" Smith said.

She was amazed at the way that the cattle industry worked there as cattle are not fenced into a property. In Vietnam, the cattle just roam. "We asked about the dangers of that, and they said that there are specific people in each village that make sure that they don't wander off too far. It's crazy, because in America we say that "it takes a village to raise a family," but in Vietnam, you need an actual village to even support your family, to feed yourself. You can't just go to the grocery store to get what you need to feed your family, you have to grow it."

STATE OFFICE CANDIDATES

Starting in April, 26 candidates began the long process to run for a state office. Mock interviews were held around the state for candidates to attend and gain experience to be utilized in the interviews in Pueblo. By the beginning of the three-day-long interview process, 22 hopefuls remained. Leading up to the first day of convention, a nominating committee, consisting of students from around the state, drilled the candidates to decide which 10 would work the best as a team.

At the sixth general session of the 90th annual Colorado FFA Convention, Smith and her team addressed the members for the last time as state officers. The chairman of the nominating committee took the podium and announced their slate of nominees.

The 2018-2019 Colorado State Officer team consists of 10 individuals from across the state. The executive committee is made up of Cheyanne Hope, Limon; Jenner Dunn, Brush; Taylor Hendrix, Holyoke, and John Peroulis, Moffat County. The newly elected sentinel is Tel Hamilton, Dolores; Reporter McKenzie Schneider, Platte Valley; Treasurer Maverick Jones, Weld Central; Secretary Heather Levy, Bennett; Vice-President Micaela Fenton, Greeley West; and President Wade Yoder, Karval.

"I'm absolutely ecstatic," Yoder said. "There's been a few people that I've watched throughout the interview process and you say, 'You know, I think they've got it. I think they have what it takes to be a state officer'. The people that I thought that about happened to get called up on stage. I think we are going to be a really strong team." Yoder's personal goal for the upcoming year is to help inspire an FFA member to try and do something "bigger than what they think they can achieve."

The retired officers have expressed a lot of confidence in the new officer team. Dylan Solano, a 2017-2018 executive committee member, made a comment about the new team.

"Just seeing them as candidates these last few days, that team seems to bond better than we ever did as candidates," he said. "Our team seemed way more shy and serious at first, but it seemed that right of the bat, that the new team made those friendships and those connections that I thought was really cool, even for the ones that didn't get elected this year. They will always have that really strong friendship and that bond."

Franks, the retired vice-president, is not only confident in the new team but in the whole process as well.

"I love that we have a student nominating committee," she said. "I know that they are very professional, very kind-hearted, and very genuine individuals who are going to choose the best possible people for the position."

The nominating committee has to, not only decide if the candidates are qualified for the office, but their job is to put together the 10 individuals from the candidate pool that will work together the best, that will have the most "team dynamic".

"I'm very excited," Frank said. "I have met all of the newly elected officers and I could see the fire and the passion in their eyes as well as the excitement for what is to come. That's what I want to see and that is exactly what Colorado FFA deserves."

The newly elected officers are about to begin their training as a team to make this next year the best that it can possibly be.

FFA is the largest youth organization in the world. It is an agricultural based club that also ties into a high school ag class. It is focused around producing young adults who can enter a career in the agricultural industry. Members get the opportunity to compete in competitions and take part in workshops that will help them in an ag career, whether it be farming or ranching, biotechnology or marketing.

"I would like to thank every Colorado FFA member that has ever shown interest in our program, as well as anyone who has truly loved it and been inspired to continue to serve our message and be leaders in every community," Smith said. ❖