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Officer Profiles

A season of Thanks
Nov. 18, 2017

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

It seems cliche, but we are nearing the season of thanksgiving, so I want to encourage you to give thanks. I have been reminded again this week not to take anything for granted and to be thankful for everything even when it may not be obvious or easy.
Over the last few weeks, I have had the privilege to visit many different chapters around Section Six and the state of Wisconsin. Time and time again this year I have seen ag teachers who are giving it their all before school, during class and after the bell rings as they dedicate themselves to our ag programs, FFA chapters and their students.
So often we take our advisors and the countless hours they put in for granted. This week and in the weeks ahead I want to challenge you to thank your advisor for each and everything they do to provide you, your members and your fellow students with opportunities to succeed. Thank your advisors for all they've done and will do for you today, yesterday and tomorrow.
Thank you Wisconsin FFA for all the opportunities you have provided me over the last five months as a state officer and for the last seven years as a member. Thank you to every member of this organization for pushing yourself to grow and for representing our organization with pride. I hope you don’t take these opportunities for granted and are just as thankful for your experiences as I am.

Thank you,
Samuel Jesse

212 Growth
Nov. 11, 2017

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

What happens at 212 degrees? Water boils. At 211 degrees, the water is just really hot. At the National FFA 212 Conference, we learned how to make the 1 degree difference and take our leadership to the next level. This weekend I had the opportunity to experience my first 212 Conference which focused on personal growth. Throughout the conference, we broke down personal growth into 4 sections: mental, emotional, social, physical.

We learned that we can grow by developing personal and professional relationships, having a positive self-image and by making healthy life choices. By the end of the conference, we set personal growth goals and found a mentor to guide us through our growth. Overall, it was a great conference and another opportunity to develop our leadership skills while meeting FFA members from across the state of Wisconsin! I am so happy to have been a part of it!

Let’s all follow through with our personal growth goals and reach out to our mentors!

With a grateful heart,
Liz Grady

Nov. 06, 2017

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

Many times, we have failed in life. No matter what the situation might be, or maybe we struggle with a new concept in school. Whatever the case it happens to us all, including me. Growing up my father always tried to instill in myself and my siblings, “If the horse bucks you off, you need to get back on.” That was it, get back on, no excuses or what if, try your best and try again. This valuable lesson has always stuck with me, and continues to influence the choices I make.

Recently I watched a Ted Talk featuring Angela Duckworth, a phycologist with the University of Pennsylvania. Her research caused her to ask what is the driving force behind students. Her answer was, grit. Duckworth says, “Grit is passion and perseverance for long-term goals.” Goals such as graduating high school, graduating college, becoming a state officer, or reaching a goal set in our career. Duckworth compares Grit to running a marathon. It means having the stamina to achieve and reach our goals. We may stumble, take a wrong turn, or become slowed down. Grit is what gives us meaning for our goals and our passion to achieve them. It can even be said that it allows us to live our why.

I want to challenge us all to become gritty. When the going gets tough, we keep on in the pursuit of our goals. Grit is about setting goals, and sticking with them to achieve them. As always, the future may change, and we may face setbacks, but if we have grit we can overcome any obstacle. Duckworth says, “Talent and luck matter to success. But talent and luck are no guarantee of grit. And in the very long run, I think grit may matter as least as much, if not more.” FFA members continue being gritty, setting goals, and achieving success! Live out your passions with perseverance, and “Live Your Why.”

Until next time,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

Digging Deeper!
Nov. 05, 2017

Ciara Koboski - Vice President
Black River Falls FFA Chapter
Section 3

Have we ever thought that we couldn’t make a difference? What can I do just one person what difference am I going to make? Maybe I could um no that’s impossible. These are phrases that may run through are minds at one time or another. Have we ever taken the time to change these phrases? I can make a difference. I may just be one person but I can get my friends and community to help. It may be impossible now, but I will make it possible.

It wasn’t until National FFA Convention this past week did I think about changing some of my thoughts. After listening to some of the motivation speakers to attiring addresses, I have thought it was time to take some time to do some digging. Have you ever dug into to yourself and thought about whether you were making a difference or just going with the flow. I want to make a difference I want to be the change in the world do you?

We may just be one person or a group of friends but we could come up with the impossible and make it possible by sharing our idea with or FFAmily until it is possible. When I was younger I always want to make a difference or be the change but I never knew the difference that I could make. It’s time to ask for help, work on ideas, work towards being the change you want to see. I challenge you to make a difference this year and don’t be afraid to ask for help or tell us the change you are making and we can help.

Ciara Koboski

Simple Reminders
Oct. 31, 2017

Brooke Brantner - Vice President
Menomonie FFA Chapter
Section 2

Over the past week and a half I have seen first hand how one small act can make a huge difference in the lives of those around you. Last weekend I was exhibiting cattle at the Minnesota Beef Expo, and all it took were a few words to remind me of why I love what I do each and everyday! As I finished fitting a steer show day afternoon alongside my dad, a young showman was getting prepared to show her very first calf. She stood next to me while I clipped and told me all about her new cowgirl boots, sparkly belt, her heifers name, and ended the conversation with "wow, your calf looks really good!" Those few words reminded me that no matter where you are or what you do, you have the ability to inspire and teach those around you.

Who are you inspiring to grow today?
What is a piece of advice you could share with someone who is looking to learn?
In what way are you able to motivate those around you?
Do you live to serve?

I challenge you to ask yourselves these questions whenever possible, and who knows the answers might surprise you. It only took a few words from the perspective of a young exhibitor to remind me of this valuable lesson.

Living to serve,
Brooke Brantner

It's the FFA Way
Oct. 27, 2017

Meikah Dado - Reporter
Amery FFA Chapter
Section 1

As I participate in the 90th National FFA Convention and Expo as a delegate, state officer, but most importantly, a member, I am reminded of just how diverse and important the agricultural industry is. As part of the FFA mission statement states, FFA gives us the potential to have career success. Not only do I see career success in the career expo, I see it every time I pass a member in the blue jacket, which happens about 61,000 times.

Through our Supervised Agricultural Experiences, we are prepared to succeed in whatever path we choose. Collectively, FFA members earn more than four billion dollars annually through their hands-on work experiences, otherwise known as SAEs. Witnessing the variety of SAEs at National Convention was truly breathtaking. From beef production to vegetable production, from agricultural education to veterinary science, FFA members across the country, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands, have chosen SAEs that fit their personalities.

Not only do SAEs provide experiences that lead to success, they are part of the FFA three component model. If you aren’t familiar, the three component model is what it takes to be an effective FFA member. A combination of FFA, SAE, and classroom experience can help us find our path to career success.

As we continue through the final days of National Convention, remember to look and ask around the sea of blue to discover a SAE that works for you. Take it upon yourself to find the best fit for you, but also look for advice and support from your advisor, parents, and state officers. As said in every convention session, individually we can, but together WE WILL.

Agriculturally Yours,
Meikah Dado

Home Is Where the Heart Is
Oct. 22, 2017

Ciera Ballmer - President
Clinton FFA Chapter

“Country roads, take me home, to the place I belong.” After a month of traveling, I was glad to be able to take a country road and come back home. This weekend, I was fortunate enough to be back in my hometown all weekend. Spending time with family, watching some Friday Night Football, and taking in the hustle and bustle of the harvest around me truly has been refreshing. Coming home always warms my heart!

This last weekend, a country road took me home to my hometown, my family, and my friends. But this upcoming week, I and over 60,000 other FFA members will be traveling to Indianapolis, Indiana, to a place where all of us can belong: National FFA Convention.

I’ve often heard the phrase, “home is where the heart is,” and for many of us, FFA can certainly be that place. Every year at National FFA Convention, I am always reminded of how much I love this organization and am motivated for another great year ahead. National FFA Convention reminds me of how FFA is where my heart is and how it can be a home for me and so many others.

The National FFA Organization offers something for every person and every interest, and National FFA Convention is no exception. From FFA Band and Choir to Leadership and Career Development Events, this week we are so excited to see members who found their home in the organization and are excelling in that area. We can all follow in their footsteps and find our place here in the FFA.

Not only can FFA be our home, but being one of the over 650,000 members across the nation and wearing the blue, corduroy jacking reminds us that we’re a part of something bigger than ourselves. In fact, this year's National Convention theme: "I Can. We Will." is a great reminder of this. As an individual, we can do anything we set our mind to. But if we come together with other people, other FFA members, and other leaders, we can and WILL be able to make a big impact! We are all so lucky to be able to come together and be a part of the national tradition of growing leaders, building communities and strengthening agriculture.

As I’m walking through the “sea of blue jackets” down FFA Way once again this week, I know I will feel at home!

Home is Where the Heart Is,

The Paintings of our Life
Oct. 21, 2017

Amelia Hayden - Vice President
Big Foot FFA Chapter
Section 10

My grandmother is an artist, and this weekend happens to be her open house, where she opens up her home of paintings to the public. While I was growing up, I always helped out around, and practically was surrounded by art.

She would teach me how to paint with her in the summers. One of the major things she would always tell me to do was to put spaces in my paintings. Even “negative,” or empty, space impacted how the final painting turned out. Leaving one brush stroke undone could change the entire feeling a painting gives the viewer. So my grandmother always said that spaces were important.

In between preparing for chapter visits, getting ready for national convention, and also spending time with my family, intentionally filling these spaces is important. How I use my space today affects how the painting of my life will look. How we fill our “space” is important - whether it’s the time, or the people and things that surround us. Focus on those things, and fill up your space with something important. Because how you utilize your space affects how people feel looking in at your painting of life. What spaces will you use to paint your picture? What will people think looking at your painting of space? Fill your space with good people. Use your space to try a new club or sport; participate in a new FFA event. The brushstrokes of your everyday actions will paint a beautiful picture.

Utilizing my space,

How About Tonight
Oct. 20, 2017

Sam Pinchart - Vice President
Luxemburg-Casco FFA Chapter
Section 9

Hello Wisconsin FFA! As we inch closer to National Convention I would like to address a question that I hear an awful lot in my chapter visits, "What is leadership and when can I be a leader?" It's a good question to ponder. Now if you Google a definition for leadership it will tell you, "the action of leading a group of people or an organization." But can leadership really be that easy? Well maybe it is. Maybe we focus too much on waiting for the perfect moment to become a leader that we simply miss many of the opportunities we have to be a leader. We hear stories about leaders rising to the occasion all the time. Often in sports. Maybe it's a backup quarterback being thrown into a game after the starter was injured and leading his team to victory. Or a coach trying to bring a winning season to a losing team. But does leadership really have to be this extravagant?.... How about sitting next to the new kid at lunch? Holding the door open for someone? Lending a helping hand? Teaching someone something they don't know? Advocating for what you know is right? Picking up trash off the road? Visiting someone who needs company? Being there when a friend needs you?... Are these not actions of a leader? I believe they are.
So back to the question, what is a leader? A leader is someone with integrity. Someone who does what is right ALWAYS. Leaders don't wait for the spotlight because there are opportunities all around us to lead and with how fast this crazy world turns we don't have time to wait...And when can we lead? Well I think the musical group Lonestar puts it best in one of their songs...

What about now? How about tonight?

Sam Pinchart
State Vice-President
Section 9

Oceans of Blue...
Oct. 16, 2017

Elisha Riley - Treasurer
Waupaca FFA Chapter
Section 8

Hello Wisconsin FFA!

It was so nice to see everyone at Sectional Leadership workshops and FIRE! Its crazy how fast time flies, and next week is National FFA Convention! With national convention is right around the corner, I am reminded of my experiences in Louisville, Kentucky and Indianapolis, Indiana.

I remember my first Convention quite clearly. It occurred in Louisville, Kentucky. When people say "oceans of blue.." its never quite put into perspective. But at the same time, has never been so accurate!

I remember having little butterflies in my stomach as I was packing; having no idea what I was about to witness. I packed all of my official dress into my suitcase, making sure to be extra careful with the blue corduroy jacket. We loaded up the Coach bus early in the morning; tired but so awake with excitement! As my chapter was traveling South towards KY, I got more and more anxious with every tour and place we stopped at. In my head I remember thinking: What is it going to be like? I wonder how many people will be there? Is the convention hall fancy?

The first day of convention was a huge rush of excitement! We arrived at the convention hall super early and set up a few things for our chapter display. The second I walked into the main building, I was impressed at the vast amount of blue I saw wandering the building. Every direction I looked there was a blue jacket. Jackets from all different states: Texas, Maine, Hawaii, Georgia, Indiana. At this point i'm so overwhelmed by the beauty i see in the thousands of jackets, but this in not the experience that tops all.

It was the first general session. My chapter and I walked into the coliseum and found ourselves a tall spot in the balcony. I found my spot and situated myself. Looking down I saw so many blue bodies, all of them moving like worker ants. After about 20 minutes, the lights went out in the colesium, stobes lights activated, and the bass dropped as the session music turned on. I could feel the energy in the room increase as the music continued on, So many jackets. The cheers got louder as the opening music continued. I had goosebumps, my throat hurt from cheering, and I found myself loving this organization more than ever before. Who else has this great of a FFAmily? What other organization can impact high school students like FFA can?

I know my image of National convention wont do justice, but as we all head into National Convention together. Don't forget to take it all in. Meet new people from other states, walk around to all the booths, get some cheese from the Hall of States booth. But most importantly, get absorbed in the energy of FFA members, and the oceans of blue corduroy.

I hope everyone has an awesome National Convention experience! Try and find the state officers as we move about the convention hall!

I hope to see everyone in Indianapolis!

Elisha Riley
WI FFA State Treasurer
Section 8

FFA Ever After
Oct. 12, 2017

Kathryn Lampi - Parliamentarian
Owen-Withee FFA Chapter
Section 7

The State FFA Officer team wrapped up our final Sectional Leadership Workshop; FFA Ever After. Our goal with the theme was to show FFA members around the state that we can all find our happily ever after with the help of FFA.

I was ecstatic to meet and work with 101 Chapter Parliamentarians this year as we traveled the state! Through my Parliamentarian Workshop: Robert Rules the Kingdom I was able to help officers gain more experience with Parli Pro and how to move motions during a business meeting. Our new skills helped us work together as a team to move motions and amendments to make trail mix for the group.

My second and third round workshops were: Knights of the Round Table. In this workshop we gathered for an open discussion about our chapters and the activities we have planned for the year as we shared ours, we also gained ideas from others to implement in our own chapters. Each member left with with a new activity that excited them and an action plan to implement it.

As I was cleaning up the room and closing the door on my last SLW Workshop I couldn’t help but be a little sad as well as reflect on my own FFA Ever After, presenting these workshops has gotten me even more excited about teaching Agricultural Education in my very own classroom one day! I can’t wait to help my future students find their happily ever after.

Thank you Wisconsin FFA,

Kathryn Lampi
Section 7 State Officer
State FFA Parliamentarian

Ag Career for Everybody
Oct. 11, 2017

Sam Jesse - Sentinel
Lodi FFA Chapter
Section 6

Over the past four weeks during the Sectional Leadership Workshops, the state officers have had the opportunity to go on twenty different business and industry tours from all sections of agriculture seeing everything from metal fabrication and canning to turkey production and floral arrangements. Though each tour was different and unique, there was one thing that every single business mentioned, and that was their need for quality help. The careers they had available required everything from a high school diploma, to technical and even Master's degrees.
Our FFA experiences have helped to shape us into excellent employees, managers and employer. Every single experience from the CDEs to LDEs we participate in to the work done in our own chapters, the work we put in is helping to grow us as we push ourselves and strive to succeed. When it comes to FFA members, we can be defined by one word. Driven.
Employers recognize this as many of our tours made mention of it. They are looking for somebody who can complete a task efficiently, somebody who can take a job and work hard to complete it, and that is exactly what your FFA experiences are teaching you to do.
Think there isn’t a career in agriculture for you? Think again. There are over 400 careers in agriculture ranging from herd managers to agricultural economists. I would encourage you to check out for tons of great information on a huge variety of careers in agriculture. As for job security? As long as people need to eat, you will be able to find a job.

Hope to see many of you at National Convention!

Samuel Jesse
WI State FFA Sentinel

How to Be Anchored in Advocacy
Oct. 05, 2017

Liz Grady - Secretary
Oregon FFA Chapter
Section 5

Hey Wisconsin FFA and Happy Fall! The first week of October is always a favorite of mine because it’s World Dairy Expo week! The state officer team had the privilege of attending the World Dairy Expo this year. On Tuesday, we helped with the Dairy Cattle and Dairy Products CDEs, the USDA Forage Quiz, the FFA Scavenger Hunt and Ciera, Sam P. and I put on a workshop for FFA members.

Given the theme, “Discover New Dairy Worlds” and the setting of World Dairy Expo, the three of us decided to have a workshop about advocacy. In our workshop, we discussed six common issues facing the agricultural industry. Then, we brainstormed ways that we as FFA members can share our knowledge with the public in order to resolve these issues. Together we came to the consensus that we as FFA members can be advocates for agriculture.

Ciera, Sam P. and I shared 3 things to remember when advocating:
1. Listen - listen to the concerns/questions of others and always be respectful of their opinion
2. Fact - when discussing agricultural issues stay up to date with information and provide credible, unbiased facts about the topic
3. Connect - try to build a personal connection with others by thinking about their values and the things that they care about and use those when addressing their concerns

Let’s all stay up to date on agricultural issues and always be “anchored in advocacy”!

Liz Grady

On the Road Again
Sep. 30, 2017

Morgan Fitzsimmons - Vice President
Mineral Point FFA Chapter
Section 4

This Saturday I participated in my very first FIRE conference! This conference was held at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton, and I can honestly say I was amazed by the technology and beauty of the campus.

Wisconsin FFA welcomed over 170 students. They learned about a variety of subjects from professionalism, to FFA opportunities, and team building. I was so enthralled to see students learn and understand in the workshops that the FFA officers were teaching.

I truly feel so honored and blessed to have been a part of a student’s positive experience and learning new things. No matter what, always remember that Wisconsin FFA is a large puzzle that isn’t complete without you, and when it comes to fine dining, leave the dessert for last. Risk boldly, seize the day, and try new things. Thank you to the FFA members for creating an awesome first FIRE conference!

Signing out from Section Four,
Morgan Fitzsimmons

Take in evey moment!
Sep. 27, 2017

Ciara Koboski - Vice President
Black River Falls FFA Chapter
Section 3

Each person has their own battle to fight with themselves. Sometimes waking up you don’t feel like getting out of bed. Maybe thinking optioning out of a commitment because it no longer sounds fun and there may have been a better offer. Everyone may have these thoughts maybe more or less then someone else. We each have our own choice to make, we could follow the famous quote by Muhammad Ali, “Don’t count the days, make the days count.”

Make the days count! I listen to people on a daily and sometimes take what they say and just ponder it. When waking up in the morning in the winter I might fight myself to go out and grab the frozen water bottle and defrost it for the rabbits. Then I think about each day and you never know what may happen, and this is why you should live every moment to the fullest. Just think about the quote from Muhammad Ali if you’re counting the days are you really making them count?

When thinking about making my days count and just getting everything out of them. I started to think about another famous quote by Maya Angelou “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.” We only have one life to live and are we really living it the way we want to. I spent one year of my life going to school for something I let others encourage me to do, and realized I wasn’t a big fan of it. When I talked to my father about he said “Ciara you were the one that always said that you should go to school for what you love and not for the salary you’re going to make.” I thought about those words and then realized why I didn’t follow my goals and my path I paved. Wisconsin FFA “Don’t count your Days, make your days count.” Muhammad Ali Always remember to take in the moments that take your breath away there isn’t many and let us treasure the ones we get.

Ciara Koboski

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