HOLTVILLE – Future Farmers of the Imperial Valley attended the 94th FFA National Convention and Exhibition in Indianapolis late last month, giving these high school students the opportunity to experience something outside of their local environment and something intended to help their future.
Along with 60,000 other high school students, five officers from the Holtville FFA section attended the national convention in Indianapolis October 27-30: Vice President Ariana Venegas, Treasurer Alondra Gonzalez, Warden David Magallon, Journalist Gannon Strahm and President Melanie Orozco.
Attendees at what is considered the world’s largest school-based youth convention got to see student exhibits from across the country, some made it to the competition finals and some didn’t. Local officers were able to see the finals of different competitions, even some members of the Holtville chapter were able to participate in areas such as parliamentary procedure. It also gave Viking students the chance to see how the other FFA chapters work as well as the projects they are working on.
Workshops and leadership sessions were available for students, along with a large college and career exhibit.
Arianna Venegas, 17, said seeing the other members from all over the United States was something she loved.
“Just seeing members from all over the United States showing off what they’ve come to do is amazing to see,” she said.
“It was really fun. One of the best experiences of my life,” said David Magallon, a 15-year-old sophomore.
“There was also a great sense of community, seeing how much everyone had in common,” added Gannon Strahm, 15, also in second grade. “It was really cool to see.”
Seventeen-year-old Melanie Orozco attended as a national delegate, although she was fortunate to be surrounded by her peers from Holtville as much. She said one of her favorite experiences at the convention was meeting people from other states, hearing different state accents and breaking out of her “little chapter bubble.” It was a sentiment shared by his fellow officers at Holtville.
Melanie added that due to her experience as a delegate, she was able to get a recommendation to improve “Discovery Chapters” or college FFA chapters, for kids who are considering entering the high school program and going to school. improve competitions for them. His suggestion will be implemented across the United States.
“It was really cool that something I said in a meeting was implemented in FFA across the country,” she said.
The Holtville students said the conference also helped them see what careers were available to them, not just in agriculture.
Lindsey Cox, Holtville FFA advisor and Department of Agriculture chief Lindsey Cox said this convention gives students the opportunity to see what the future may hold for them as they continue with FFA and even careers. that they can research after high school.
Not all FFA students go into the agricultural field, but those who participated in the program continued in managerial and team positions that are attributed to time spent in FFA.
“This group that we took on are wonderful young people,” Cox said. “It was great to see them take advantage of all these opportunities and be excited about it.”
Holtville even got one of the top honors at the convention. David Lopez, Holtville High 2019 graduate and former Holtville FFA officer, “retired” at the convention and became the first national officer to be selected from Holtville FFA. He delivered his retirement speech from the post of National Vice President of the FFA for the Western Region in front of the whole convention, reflecting on his history within the FFA and the need he felt to be someone that people could admire and be there for them.
He asked that people treat each other kindly and “see the people”. He spoke about another Holtville FFA member, Emmanuel Lucero, who inspired him to pay attention, to be kind and made him want to be a light to another person.
“I wanted to be someone’s Emmanuel, a light that guides people to be their best, to care and treat people with kindness,” Lopez said.
All five officers were proud to wear the blue jacket labeled Holtville which represented not only their hometown, but also Lopez’s home.
It was difficult to get to the convention this year due to the lack of fundraising opportunities due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but sponsors came to fund the trip for the five students.
Cox and his students all wanted to thank the sponsors who brought them to Indiana. Cox said it was very moving to see how much the community supports the students of Holtville.
It’s the first time in about five years that Holtville has been able to make it to the FFA National Convention, and Cox says they’re ready to do it again in the future.