OMG it’s hard to believe that this will be my 27th FFA Week! There are so many good memories of laughter, food and friends throughout those years, first as a student and then as a teacher. That week is a chance to celebrate and just have plain fun with FFA members. When I close my eyes, I can see the shining faces and hear the laughter and I know you can too.
One of the best memories I have is handing out chapter degree pins. One year, there was a young man receiving his who told me this was the best thing he’d ever received. Really? Better than birthday and Christmas presents? Better than dessert after supper? Yes, really! He’d worked for that degree for two years, and he was proud of his accomplishments.
But, as Paul Harvey says, here’s the rest of the story.
That young man didn’t have a very good home life and many times went without basic necessities. He managed to pull himself to school each day despite the lack of any support, to do his homework despite a family cycle of high school dropouts, and to eventually graduate and attend a technical school despite the lack of monetary and emotional support most kids take for granted. It was the truth when he shared that getting his chapter degree was the best thing he’d ever received.
I reflect on that moment often when I look at FFA members and recall that sometimes the mundane things we do are done with purpose. Something as simple as getting a silver emblem pin marks a milestone of student motivation and accomplishment. I smile to think about that young man graduating from college, getting married, getting his first real job and starting a family. He had no idea that moment of getting his chapter degree only marked the beginning of the best things he would ever receive.
Now you know my favorite FFA Week moment…what’s yours? Post your favorite FFA week memory on the NAAE communities of practice to help teachers across the country gear up for the celebration.