ention drew hundreds of middle- and high-school age youngsters whose future may hold careers in family farming, agribusiness or scientific research. But whatever path they choose, the participants at the June 11-13 event were reminded that their experience in FFA will fuel their competitive spirit, achievement of goals and leadership capabilities.
There was a renewed excitement as the convention was returning to N.C. State University after being held at the State Fairgrounds since 1974. On-campus enhancements of the conventions activities included campus tours and increased university participation in the career-exploration opportunities offered to the more than 1,300 members, advisers and guests in attendance.
The conventions career development events, leadership workshops, tours and special sessions were centered around the theme Play It To The Max! complete with a game board logo that would do Parker Brothers proud. In place of destinations such as Park Place and Reading Railroad, the game FFAers were invited to embark upon offered adventures in agricultural mechanics, beef production, nursery/landscape and other career choices.
Dr. Marshall Stewart, state FFA adviser, set the game-playing tone as he welcomed FFAers to N.C. State and to the opening session at the Talley Student Centers Stewart Theater. This is an opportunity for you to grow and expand your horizons, to compete and learn to win and lose, and, in the end, to become a better person, he said.
Jason Chester, State FFA president, then introduced the video production,Whats the Game All About? On screen, FFAers were depicted caring for animals, canoeing on lakes, scoring baskets, growing crops, conducting laboratory experiments, playing in orchestras, winning awards all with the final message: This game we call FFA is about passion, desire, hard work and lifetime leadership.
Following the video, U.S. Rep. Bob Etheridge was honored with the FFA Lifetime Achievement Award, in recognition of his strong support of agricultural education and FFA programs in the state. We thank you for living to serve, Chester told the former FFAer Etheridge, in reference to congressmans fulfilling of the FFA motto, Learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, living to serve.
Etheridge replied, I never received an award that meant more to me than this one. Im honored to join the ranks of Jim Hunt, Jim Graham and others who have won this award.
State Rep. Dan Blue also was honored with a 2002 Lifetime Achievement Award during the conventions run, and CP&L, a Progress Energy Company, received the Premier Partner Award.
The spirit of competition that Stewart evoked was displayed throughout the convention, particularly in the Agriscience Fair and at the Quiz Bowl, both held at the Talley Student Center Ballroom area.
Agriscience Fair exhibits illustrated the diversity of the FFAers and their interests, including entries such as Organic Tobacco vs. Conventional Tobacco, Which Biofiltration Design Is Most Efficient, Calving in Relation to the Phase of the Moon, Which Recycled Material Is the Best Biofilter and The Effect of Sunlight on Hester-Dendy Sampling Protocols of Benthic Micro Invertebrate Communities.
Meanwhile, the team from Madison High School smoked 11 other teams in single-elimination competition to win the FFA Quiz Bowl. Dr. Gary Moore of the Agricultural and Extension Education Department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences was moderator of the event that tested students knowledge of key facts about FFA and agricultural education.
Other events included addresses by state and national FFA officers and from North Carolina agricultural leaders, an agricultural career show, career development event winner recognitions, numerous award presentations and the Jim Graham FFA Creed competition, a public-speaking event for first-year FFAers, grades 7-9.
FFA is a national youth leadership organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people through agricultural education. In North Carolina, more than 13,300 youth participate in more than 280 FFA chapters across the state.
FFA make a very positive impact on our society, Etheridge said.
Im proud of my affiliation with FFA.