I start thinking about FFA and I go back to the start. You see I did not take an agriculture education class as a freshmen. My interests were academic; Math, Physics, History. Somewhat indicative of my chosen career of engineering.
While I had been involved with 4-H, and had seen FFA members in action at the local county fair I was not convinced those odd corduroy jackets were for me. One of my friends was in FFA and their Advisor was out at their project providing some help. I happened to be there that day and asked a few questions of the guy myself. Next thing I know he had volunteered to come to my house and take a look at my projects.
“Why would this guy I had barely met, volunteer to drive to my house to look at my livestock?” The answer is simple: because he cared. Shortly after that encounter I went into the counseling office and signed up for that guy’s class. No other teacher had ever visited my house to give advice, all in my best interest.
That chance project visit started a 12 year friendship, which has taken us through 15 states, 5 countries, across an ocean, and everywhere in between. He recognized my potential and exploited every ounce on my behalf. I think this is why I love FFA so much. It doesn’t matter where you are, FFA will always provide you with these kind of people. Coaches that challenge. Teachers that know more about the world than most politicians. Peers ready for a journey. Lifelong friends. Eager students. Tremendous leaders. Generous supporters.
They are tearing down the old Ag classroom and shop in my high school this summer. That iconic place will be replaced with a new lab and classroom, with no history, no memories. Places crumble and are torn down. Things like plaques grow dust, trophies tarnish, and certificates get lost. But the people are
what make the experience. That same teacher I had way back when will walk into that cookie cutter classroom next fall and make it come to life and give those students the same education he gave me. FFA is about the people you meet on the journey and the memories and skills you will carry with you the
rest of your life.
Burt is a former member of the Casper - NC FFA Chapter. He served as the State Sentinel and has coached numerous teams, helped to run Convention and played a pivatol role in FFA Camp. Burt is a shining example of service to others.