After MEGA we didn’t stop going. We headed east to Raleigh and treated the National Officers to some good ol' Smithfield’s Chicken and Barbeque. Not being North Carolina natives, chicken and barbeque was a delicacy to them and they really seemed to enjoy it. Upon finishing our meal, we headed to the FFA office and unloaded everything from the van. We thought that the National Officers would enjoy a tour of Raleigh, so we shuffled them around campus and then decided that Pullen Park would make a nice walk. This was also a treat for me because it was my first time going to Pullen Park since it had been renovated. We were excited to ride the water boats, however we got in touch with our inner child when we discovered that the paddle boats were closed and had a great time riding the carousel. After riding the carousel we moseyed around for a bit and enjoyed hearing stories and random adventures from Seth, Jason and Wyatt. Following the park we took them to their first trip to Bojangles. They had heard the hype and were finally ready to try the real thing. Fortunately they weren’t disappointed. We ate and then it was time to take Wyatt to the airport. It was a sad moment, leaving someone we’d grown to see as a good friend, but we know we'll see him again soon. Wyatt can’t seem to stay away from the tractor beam that’s constantly pulling him back to North Carolina.
Our goodbyes with Wyatt said and done, we took Jason and Seth on the scenic route back to their hotel for the night. The next morning they were up bright and early doing school visits to some of our amazing FFA members here in North Carolina. That afternoon however, Jason joined us for an amazing visit with the Chancellor of NC State. The State Officers haven’t visited with the chancellor in a very long time, if ever. So for us to receive this opportunity was an honor and a blessing. The chancellor had some inspiring words and great things to say about the future of education and agriculture education. One thing that I asked Chancellor Woodson was what is one of his favorite NCSU traditions? We agreed that since our class rings spend a night in the bell tower before you get them, that was pretty neat, but also said one of his favorites was when past generations pin their children at the annual pinning ceremony for freshmen. It was great to hear all about his experiences from Purdue to NC State. It was also great to hear that he is an avid supporter of the North Carolina FFA Association. After that visit we went our separate ways until we met up at the Flying Biscuit in Cameron Village for dinner. Seth was still out gallivanting with Mr. Bledsoe, so we went and picked him up once we finished eating and we all headed to Sweet Frog frozen yogurt for dessert. We shared stories of the day and adventures of the past. We decided to conclude the evening testing our trivia knowledge and play trivia at the Tart household, sad to say though John, Beverly, and Ashley were the winners of that game.
The next morning we all woke up bright and early and headed out to Livestock Judging at the Hunt Horse Complex. I was personally super excited about this because I never got to attend livestock judging in high school, so I was grateful for the opportunity now. We helped set up and hung out before FFA members started pouring in!! We got to see some familiar faces from MEGA and then some that we hadn’t seen in forever!! It was a great feeling.Shortly after the competition started and everyone was intently concentrating - going from pen to pen and analyzing every little part of each animal, it was amazing to see the FFA members in the zone and so focused. Around 11, we broke and everyone ate lunch. This was my favorite part, not just because we got food, but because we were then allowed to talk to the FFA members who were, up until that point, competing. I enjoyed every minute of it and wish we had more time to catch up with them all. They got back to work and we started grading. We worked diligently until around 4 o’clock grading and sorting through cards. We then departed for the office so that we could scan all the scores. However, before heading back to we had to say goodbye to one of the National Officers, Mr. Seth Pratt. We really enjoyed having him here for the week; he was inspirational and really reached out to NC FFA members. After that we scored and then took Jason out for his last dinner in North Carolina. As a group, we decided to go to Red Robin...YUM! It was a good time full of laughter and fellowship. We filled our tummies and then said our goodbyes to National FFA Officer, Jason Troendle. Saying goodbye is always hard. We had a blast getting to know his unique personality and hearing his amazing stories. We hope to see those two again sometime in the future, we appreciate their time and passion to the National FFA organization. After saying our goodbyes we headed our separate ways, filled with joy, from a great day full of quality people, and quality programs. Thank you NC FFA for making our days so enjoyable!