“I Believe” not only was it the theme for this year’s National FFA Convention, but it will be our theme throughout the upcoming year! It is one of the most exciting times during State Office, traveling with nine Delegates and the other State Officers to Indianapolis! You could feel the excitement start to build as soon as the plane landed. We arrived on Monday and we knew that we had less than one full week to take it all in, and leave North Carolina FFA’s Mark on those streets.
This year was especially exciting for me, not only did I get to serve as a Delegate, but I also got the opportunity to compete in the National FFA Extemporaneous Career Development Event! Months of hard work and preparation was finally going to pay off! The excitement was almost too much to contain, not only were we making decisions that will shape the future of the FFA, we also interacted with other FFA Members from across the United States. Then, Wednesday came, the time was 7:30 A.M. and the location was Ballroom 4 of the Westin Hotel. I knew what had to be done, but you never can get all of the nervousness out of your system. They called my name, and I went into the room to give my speech. It all seems like a blur now, but in that moment there was nothing that was going to stop me from giving everything I had at that moment. When the first round was over, I waited for what seemed like an eternity…and then it happened…they called my name to go on to the semi-finals! Now I had to give a completely different speech on a different topic! Competing against eight other individuals I knew that only two of us could make it out of this round. That night at the banquet for the Speaking Contestants I could hardly eat or even sit still. They called the extemporaneous speakers, bronze, silver and then finally the top four individuals that would be advancing to the finals! “California…Oklahoma…Kansas… and North Carolina!” I was so excited! I had finally made it to the top four and I would be competing one final time in front of everyone! Friday couldn’t come fast enough! I just wanted to know how I had done! But I had to compete one final time on Thursday! I got up that morning and I was ready to go, it was game-time and it was time to let the dogs out! I gave it everything I had! Friday night came; the nervousness was at an all-time high. All I can remember about that whole ceremony was “First runner up…John Stewart, Knightdale, North Carolina!!!!!” I was so excited, what an incredible opportunity and journey it has been to be able to represent North Carolina at National FFA Convention.
National FFA Convention was certainly a great time, and North Carolina FFA was easily one of the best represented. Not only were we recognized as the third fastest growing Association, we were represented by an outstanding group of Members and Delegates! This year, National FFA also recognized Native American Heritage as an important factor in the shaping of the United States, Agriculture and the FFA. We were especially well represented by members of the St. Pauls FFA Chapter, who provided rich history on Native Americans from North Carolina. From the retiring addresses of the National Officers, to the elections of the 2011-2012 National Officers, National Convention is an exciting time, and a time to celebrate all of the achievements of our Organization.