We get many unique opportunities as a state FFA officer team, but last Tuesday was really something special. We had the privilege to meet with Governor Jim Hunt on the 21st floor of the Wachovia building in downtown Raleigh! I’m not sure any of us really knew what to expect from the visit, nonetheless the Governors warm, but down-to-business disposition certainly blew any expectations there may have been completely out of the water!
Dressed to impress in our OD, we all piled in the state mini-van like the family we are and made our way toward downtown. The weather outside was certainly too warm for corduroy, but the air of the Wachovia building was as cool as the Governor’s smile as he hopped off a conference call and straight into a room filled with our smiling faces. Starting with Mr. Bledsoe, he greeted each person in the room individually, making a personal connection with each of us. He then proceeded to begin discussion. He asked each officer a series of hard hitting questions, expecting solid and informed answers in response. “What’s your most pressing concern in agriculture?” “How is agriculture education staying current?” “Where do you see the future of production?” These questions lead us into discussion concerning agriculture illiteracy, sky rocketing food demands, the closing of North Carolina poultry plants, biotechnology, honors courses, alternative energy and much more. However, when the Governor was satisfied with the goings-on of NCFFA and agriculture education, it was our turn to ask him some questions.
The very first question on all our minds was asked with no hesitation. “Governor, how does a 1955-56 North Carolina state FFA officer from Rock Ridge High School obtain the title of ‘America’s Governor’ and certainly one of North Carolina’s finest for education?” His answered certainly inspired us all. He said, “Care. Care about people.” This response fed into more conversation about servant leadership and governor’s emphasis on building new leaders through education. After speaking with Mr. Hunt, we all more clearly understood both how and why he had been able to make such great progress for North Carolina. More than anything we were ready to take this new inspiration and apply it.
When the visit was over, we all took the book’s the governors assistant, Howie, had given us earlier and received a personal message from the governor on the inside page. Then, we smiled for some pictures in his office, overlooking the beautiful city of Raleigh, waved Howie good-bye, validated our parking, and left the building with bigger smiles than when we came in! Once we exited the building, we all looked at Mr. Davis and agreed, someday we all want a Howie!
Alyssa Ramsey, State Vice President