The 82nd annual Indiana State FFA Convention held at Purdue University last week was the first for Steve Hickey, executive director of the Indiana FFA Association. He officially began work August 1, 2010, and immediately immersed himself into the Indiana State Fair FFA exhibit.
Hickey implemented several changes which changed the face of the convention last week, mostly for the better. First, he worked with the ag teacher Board of Trustees to move selection of top four proficiency winners to April instead of at convention on Tuesday morning. That allowed a session to be held, meaning the final session on Wednesday began at 1:30 and adjourned at 4 pm.
Instead of 100 people left in the vast Elliott Hall of Music at 7:30 pm, nearly all of the more than 2,500 present stayed to the end, knowing they still had time to get home at a decent hour, no matter where they lived in Indiana. That meant the new state officers were installed in front of a huge crowd, as it should be.
Whether the final four proficiency interviews will remain in April is yet to be seen. But Hickey says he’s committed to keeping them before the convention. The other advantage is that it allows winners in each of the nearly 50 proficiency areas to have more time to fine-tune their application before they must send it on for national competition. His goal is to get Indiana back into the spotlight at National FFA Convention with more students placing in the top four in various proficiency areas.
Another change was that the chapter meeting contest was held Tuesday rather than Monday, giving those students more time and hopefully eliminating competition between members of those teams and other contests they might have been in. However, word on the street is that there were still some hiccups to work out in the move of some contests to the day when the convention sessions actually began.
Altogether, the now retired state FFA secretary, Megan Klotz from South Putnam FFA, announced that just under 3,000 people attended the convention. According to those in the know, that approaches a record attendance mark. Not everyone attended every session, but the announced number represented registration at the convention. The 83rd annual state convention will be held during the third week of June in 2012.