FFA influences NCTA Aggies
Officers of NCTA Collegiate FFA, left to right, Taylor Hendrix of Colorado, Gillian Brinker of Alaska and Taylor Sayer of Nebraska, assemble in the office of NCTA Dean Larry Gossen. The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is observing National FFA Week Feb. 20-27. Photo by Kenna Graves/NCTA
National FFA Week Feb. 20-27, evokes significant meaning and wonderful memories for me, personally, and for many of the individuals in my sphere of family and friends.
The majority of my life’s career has been associated with FFA youth, their families, school systems and agricultural educators throughout the U.S. Some of my favorite memories are while I served as the State Advisor and worked throughout Nebraska with leaders of the FFA State Officer Team.
Those are unique opportunities to watch young men and women develop outstanding leadership skills and, perhaps most importantly, forge lifelong friendships through FFA.
NCTA CAMPUS EVENTS
We are celebrating National FFA Week at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis with several events at campus spearheaded by the officers of the NCTA Collegiate FFA and 4-H Club.
Feb. 22 was Cupcake Sales of the Blue and Gold at the lobby of the Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center. Taylor Sayer, club treasurer, has been baking treats for the Aggie campus for several holidays and special events, including FFA Week.
On Feb. 24, the campus hosts Career Development Events for District 9 FFA chapters. We expect between 350-400 students, advisors, and agricultural education teachers on campus.
Collegiate FFA is planning a fun evening on Wednesday with an Ag Olympics at the indoor arena in the Livestock Teaching Center. Teams of four to six will compete for prizes in contests such as hay bale throw, feed sack carry, tire flipping and blindfolded contestants in a wheelbarrow race.
Recently I asked the NCTA Collegiate FFA officers to share highlights of their FFA experiences.
Gillian Brinker, Northern Sky FFA Chapter, based at Anchorage, Alaska.
Highlight: I had the opportunity to serve as the 2019-2020 Alaska FFA State Vice President. Also, I chartered the Northern Sky chapter and got to see all our new members achieve their goals and push themselves out of their comfort zones.
Mentor or role model: One person I look up to greatly is Deborah Baines. She offered me my volunteer job on her farm when I was 11 years old. In the next seven years, she taught me everything I know about working with horses and running a successful small business. I learned the importance of kindness in professionalism, and what it means to prioritize the things and people you care about.
FFA influence: Through Deborah and her farm, I found FFA. If it weren’t for FFA, I would have never discovered my passions for horses, public speaking and helping others. I really appreciate all of the opportunities FFA has afforded me. FFA taught me so much about who I am as well as who I want to be, and how I should go about getting there; for that, I will always be grateful.
Goals: I am working to get my associates in Equine Industry Management with a certificate in training from NCTA so I can start a horse boarding and training facility of my own.
Taylor Hendrix, Holyoke FFA Chapter, Holyoke Colo.
Highlight: Obtaining my American FFA Degree was one of my FFA highlights.
A significant aspect of FFA: While serving as a Colorado State FFA Officer I had the opportunity to travel the state of Colorado, visiting 30 of the 127 chapters, promoting leadership and education in high school students.
Leadership or career goals from FFA: I found my passion for ag business through my SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) projects; Ag Sales and Beef Production. Ag business is my degree path here at NCTA.
Taylor Sayer, Cambridge FFA, Cambridge, Neb.
Highlight: My biggest highlight was having the privilege to represent my chapter as a club officer for three years.
Significant FFA memory: I have been a part of FFA for many years and it is what sparked my interest to study agronomy. I believe this was the most significant because I wouldn’t be in this field of study today if it weren’t for my involvement in FFA.
Leadership or career goals: I have developed a plethora of leadership skills and a love for leading others through my FFA experience. I wouldn’t say it has sparked any career goals, but it has pushed me to strive for more education. After graduating from NCTA in May, I plan to further my education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I will earn my master’s degree in agronomy.
Defining moment: I joined FFA with no idea what I planned to do after high school. Very little did I know, it was going to point me in the direction I needed to go. FFA changed my life for the better, an amazing and life-changing experience to say the least.
Congratulations and thank you to all FFA members, chapters, advisors and agricultural educators, and FFA families. NCTA is proud to be a part of your educational journey, and values our partnership in youth education, leadership and career development. Have a successful FFA Week.
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