Eight high school officials and administrators took part in the annual Michigan FFA Alumni trip to the National FFA Convention, Oct. 30 through Nov. 1 in Louisville to gain insight into the organization and its potential impact on their local community. The convention is the nation's single largest gathering of students with nearly 63,000 FFA members, teachers and administrators in attendance, turning Louisville into a sea of blue corduroy FFA uniforms.
Attending this year were Sheila Pilmore, principal of Breckenridge High School; Deb McCarty, secretary of Caledonia Community Schools Board of Education; Andrea Gordon, new FFA Advisor and agriscience teacher at Concord High School; Tressa Wenk, guidance counselor of Fremont High School; Greg Tatrow, assistant principal of Marshall High School; Paula Steele, principal of Perry High School; Michael Moran, trustee of Ravenna Public Schools; and Ann Iott-Uphaus, teacher at Sand Creek High School.
In addition to attending convention sessions, the National FFA Convention gives participants the opportunity to visit with Michigan FFA state officers and staff, national FFA staff, Michigan FFA alumni members and students from their local FFA chapters.
"This trip builds lasting relationships between FFA chapters and key decision-makers within the school district," says Jason Jaekel, executive director of the Michigan FFA Alumni Association. "The alumni association is honored to help Michigan's FFA chapters showcase the National FFA Convention so school officials see the end result of students' hard work in agriscience education and the opportunities it affords them."
Overall, the convention is an opportunity for student members from across the country to gather and share experiences while competing for awards, recognitions and scholarships. Central to the experience are service learning projects, leadership seminars, educational tours and motivational speeches.
The school officials and administrators hope to take these experiences back to their local communities to help set the course for the next year. FFA helps prepare students for more than 300 careers in science, business and technology in agriculture through hands-on experiences.
The 2013 National FFA Experience was sponsored by the Michigan FFA Alumni, Michigan Farm Bureau, Michigan FFA Association and the Michigan FFA Foundation.