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FFA Corner: The current state FFA officer team proved just how tough they are.

May 4, 2020

3 Min Read
Joe Martin
OUTLASTING TOUGH TIMES: Joe Martin has watched seven Indiana FFA state officers grow up before his eyes as they met the COVID-19 pandemic challenge this year.Tom J. Bechman

Well, this has been quite the year! Schools and businesses were closed, we learned how to do work and school from home, high school and college seniors could not walk for graduation, FFA competitions were canceled and state convention will happen virtually. Society was upended, and we’re all discovering our new normal.

Much like the assassinations of President John Kennedy and Martin Luther King of the 1960s, the farm crisis in the ’80s and Sept. 11, 2001, this is a defining moment in history. Many might find it hard to think of the good that can come from the COVID-19 crisis, but there is always a silver lining. I have many positives that have kept me going.

Soon after Indiana was asked to “hunker down” at home, I was able to get on a Zoom call with some of my college buddies, many I haven’t seen in years. Even though we were spread from South Carolina to Washington and Michigan to Georgia, we were able to connect and talk about the “good ol’ days.” Technology today is quite a positive!

Related: Complete coronavirus coverage

In late March, I learned that a past state officer, Mason Gordon, was selected to give the student response for Purdue University’s virtual graduation. Because of the pandemic, not only was I able to see his speech, I was also able to help him film it in front of the green screen at the FFA Center.

I am proud of Mason and so glad I was able to help him share his inspiring message. He summed up his time as a Boilermaker with one of my favorite quotes from Robert Schuller: “Tough times never last, but tough people do.”

Current state officers

One of the greatest positives for me in this pandemic has been working with the current state officers. The hardest thing state staff had to do this year was tell the officers they would need to start working from home, not at the center. But one of my proudest moments has been seeing their response to adversity since that day.

They have never lost sight of the FFA mission to make a positive difference in the lives of students. They have taken each obstacle with grace, and a willingness to look for the positive ways they can continue to create an amazing experience for those they serve.

Their year is not ending like they thought it would, and they have missed out on many of the things that would have made their year memorable. But their year has become memorable in other ways. It will be memorable not because of the things they missed, but because of the way they’ve created a great experience in spite of adversity.

This team did not let the pandemic define them. They’re defining what it means to be tough people. This tough time won’t last, but the legacy this team has left behind will last forever. I couldn’t be prouder!

Martin is the Indiana FFA program specialist with responsibility for supervising the Indiana FFA state officers. He writes from Trafalgar, Ind.

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