Perspectives: Why I take the time
By Randy Plattner, Marshall, Mo.
Student success. What does this mean to you? As we teach, develop and mentor our students in our programs, student success is one of the main reasons that we are in the teaching profession. Many students have chosen to pursue a career in agriculture because someone took an interest in them and helped them to be successful in their educational journey. Our students and their performance are always at the forefront of our priorities. I have had the opportunity and privilege to help students realize their potential and achieve success; there are few things more satisfying. The countless road hours, class time, leadership camps, state conventions, presentations, team practices, speech practices, committee hours, supervised agricultural experience hours, etc. that are invested in each of our students throughout their high school career are all reflected on applications.
Whether the application is for a leadership position, a scholarship, a degree or a proficiency award, the application is an important tool that is used to communicate a personal story. These forms can be argued as the most important document used to communicate facts about who a person is and their capabilities, experience, talents and interests. As teachers, we understand the importance of these manuscripts, and many of us spend a great deal of time instructing our students how to utilize them effectively.
Award applications in FFA provide students the formal opportunity to organize their activities and thoughts. How often is this task required of individuals throughout life? Sales presentations, personal communication and group discussion are just a few venues where the skills in organizing and communicating information are extremely important. It is also an opportunity for our students to tally what they have achieved, providing a sense of accomplishment and adding value to their efforts.
Scholarships are available from many different organizations that believe in youth and their future influence. The National FFA Organization does a wonderful job of bringing many of these organizations to one location through the online application system. In addition, there are often state and local opportunities for our students to receive financial assistance with postsecondary education
An example of a local scholarship opportunity came when tragedy struck our chapter nine years ago. A freshman FFA member, with tremendous potential and promise, was killed in an auto accident. A young man with a constant smile and enthusiasm that overflowed touched everyone around him. To date, more than $100,000 has been raised and awarded to FFA members to honor his memory. Recipients have the opportunity to pursue their educational dreams in his stead. Many even pay it forward by contributing back to the scholarship effort, proving the value of completing a simple form.
An application can even enable the student to feel valued for their hard work and dedication. When individuals feel valued and experience success, it permeates throughout the chapter. Success breeds success and everyone wins.
So what about those applications that are going to be coming due after Christmas break? Are they important to your success as a teacher? Are they important to your students’ success now and in the future? I wish you the best as you lead your chapter throughout the remaining course of the year. May you and your efforts be blessed as you help develop the future of agriculture and the future of our nation!