There are things FFA members can only experience at the FFA National Convention, which was Oct. 25 to 27 in Indianapolis, Ind.
Marion FFA sponsor Mark Meyer asked each of the attending students from the chapter — Ericka Herzet, Alicia Maloney, Caitlyn Maloney, Morgan Radtke, Elizabeth Meyer, Remington Putter, and Landon Petersen — to obtain signatures from an FFA member from each state. With 55,000 people — including throngs of students with jackets naming their chapters — it was only a matter of time before Marion students could meet someone from each state.
To encourage his students to visit booths that did not feature free items, Meyer organized a scavenger hunt with particular booths listed, especially those of colleges.
Meyer is never certain what might inspire students. Part of the national convention is meeting state and national officers, and seeing what events they are doing with their chapters.
There were also the speeches. All national officers give retirement addresses.
“They’re good messages about inspiring members to do something, to be positive, and grow,” Meyer said.
The special speaker for the convention was former figure skater and Winter Olympics announcer Scott Hamilton. Hamilton spoke about three separate bouts with cancer.
There was also the chance for national awards. Meyer volunteered to be a coordinator for a national contest. Part of the job included making sure the judges asked fair questions of the four students up for awards. Meyer said he wanted to get a better idea of what the judging entailed. Last year Adam Cope was a national finalist for beef production placement.
And there were some events outside of the convention itself. The chapter toured the Harley Davidson production plant in Kansas City and saw motorcycles being made. They toured the Monsanto Research Facility in St. Louis, Mo., and learned about genetic engineering for seed.
“They told them that’s where the demand and research is,” Meyer said. “It’s a good paying career.”
Both of those tours were free. The group also toured Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Marion FFA alumni association paid for that cost. The chapter also went to a Brantley Gilbert and The Band Perry concert.