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What two Indiana state FFA officers were doing in Tennessee

What two Indiana state FFA officers were doing in Tennessee
FFA is the universal language of agriculture in the U.S. and around the globe.

When elected to state FFA office in June 2015, I was very excited to travel across Indiana. However, I never imagined all the opportunities I would receive to travel across the nation and see the diversity of National FFA. Most recently, my teammate, Kenzie Kretzmeier, and I embarked on a trip to the Tennessee FFA State Convention.

We were going to present a workshop and just experience another state’s traditions. After driving through Louisville, Lexington, and Pigeon Forge, we finally arrived in the bustling tourist attraction that is Gatlinburg, Tennessee.

SPEAKS FFA: Annalee Witte hopes to minor in Spanish, but no matter where she is or who she talks to, she believes FFA is like a universal language, understood by everyone in agriculture.

Blue jackets filled the streets, as thousands of FFA members milled through the city enjoying the fun attractions and the Smoky Mountains. It was exciting to be back in the atmosphere of a state convention. We spent the first night getting to know the state officers who were also visiting from Mississippi, Kentucky, Iowa, Kansas and Florida.

Fun in Tennessee

While the first night was a blast, it didn’t compare to the next day. Chills went down my spine, as Kenzie and I found our seats for the opening session. The lights dimmed and the screen began to glow. The National FFA theme song blasted from the speakers.

Related: Why state FFA officers love FFA banquets

The hotel conference center transformed into a convention hall. Kenzie and I joined the other FFA members in making a huge tunnel for the Tennessee FFA State Officers to run in through. A booming voice announced each of their names as they ran into the crowd of adoring members and up onto the stage for their last great performance. They did an amazing job engaging members in the audience and getting everybody amped up for the coming week.

While watching their convention unfold was thrilling, it was also a sobering reminder. My teammates and I also have a very limited amount of time before our last great performance. In about two months it will be us running through a man-made tunnel up onto the stage in Elliot Hall of Music.

It seems so surreal. Where did all of the time go? Sometimes it seems like our year of service as state officers has flown by like scenery outside of a car driving on the interstate. As we near the end, I find myself wishing I wasn’t sitting in the back seat so I could press down on the brake and make it all slow down.

However, if there’s anything I’ve learned this year, it’s that time doesn’t stop for anything. In all of our lives, it’s so important to dwell in the present. The past has nothing to offer; the future holds no guarantees. The only thing to do is buckle your seat and embrace the wild ride.

- Witte is the 2015-2016 Indiana FFA state secretary. She writes from Trafalgar.

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