Eleven current Gustine FFA members, along with three alumni, earned the privilege of attending the 91st annual National FFA Convention held Oct. 23-27 in Indianapolis, Ind. The students who attended included Clayton Alamo, Logan Luker, Lalanie Brace, Gannon Silva, Patrick Broderick, Aubrie Hazan, Madison Woods, Megan Azevedo, Jillian Nunes, Nicole Moitozo, Selina Lopes, Camille Alamo, Marco Marsigli and Adriana Toste.
That Wednesday, students had the opportunity to explore the Ohio State University Ag Department and tour the university’s dairy unit. Former Gustine FFA member and current Ohio State student Lexi Nunes led the students on a personalized tour of the dairy unit, where students witnessed hands-on work experience and gained a true understanding of all the “behind the scenes” work.
That night, students were excited to attend a Ned LeDoux and Garth Brooks concert, where they interacted with students from all over the United States, and enjoyed the music with their friends.
The conference kicked off Thursday morning with a motivational opening session that paved the way for the rest of the convention. Throughout the remainder of the week, students attended three general sessions where they heard from different keynote speakers and listened to the national officers give their retiring addresses. Each of these sessions had a different theme and lesson. Students also attended different leadership workshops conducted by representatives of various universities. At each one different leadership, communication and team-building skills were taught. Students also had the opportunity to visit the FFA Mall and College and Career Fair were held in the Convention Center.
On Saturday, Gustine FFA alum Adriana Toste was recognized for earning her American FFA Degree, the highest degree an FFA member can achieve. The FFA students were excited to see her cross the stage and cheered as she was presented with the coveted American FFA Degree key. Fellow Gustine FFA alumnus Nick Machado also earned his American FFA degree, but was unable to attend the convention. Seeing these students achieve the ultimate degree in FFA motivated the other Gustine FFA students in attendance.
“This trip was the greatest FFA experience I have ever had! I met people from all over the United States,” Clayton Alamo shared. “I am looking forward to when I achieve my American Degree and get to walk across that stage!”
Every year, the National FFA Organization extends an invitation to the sitting president of the United States to attend the National Convention and address the members. The last president to accept that offer was President George H.W. Bush in 1991. Saturday afternoon, during the 9th General Session, Gustine FFA students had a once in a lifetime opportunity to see and listen to the current president of the United States. President Donald J. Trump addressed students during the closing session, where he discussed everything the government is doing for agriculture and encouraged and motivated the members to stay active in the agriculture industry.
“He has a passion for what we have a passion for,” related Nicole Moitozo. “I saw a different side of him, down to earth instead of a politician, and I really liked that.”
“He was discussing things that related to our interests. He talked about issues with agriculture and how it relates to everything he is doing,” added Selina Lopes.
All in all, this was definitely a National FFA Convention trip to remember! The members who attended are motivated and excited to share their experiences and bring some new ideas and skills learned back to our chapter.
(Submitted by Aubrie Hazan, Gustine FFA Reporter)