FFA students enjoyed National Convention

photo courtesy of Erin Cook

PHS Ag Teacher Monty Collins has regularly attended the FFA National Convention as an educator since 1987. He takes students every two years now to allow him to take as many students who want to attend as possible. Last week, he took 20 students to Indianapolis, Ind.
“Ideally, I would be taking students every year,” Collins said. But what he has found is that it is easier to take freshmen and sophomores, as older students are typically busy with varsity sports during the convention. With that, there is also the issue of the distance traveled to get to the convention, compared to the past when they were held in Kansas City, Mo.
Collins believes 20 is the largest number of students he has ever taken. The chapter itself has grown to its largest size ever.
As for the trip, it was very positive. The students were excited to meet fellow FFA’ers from other states, learn more about furthering their ag education and learning more about the business aspect of it. Students also had pages in their programs to collect autographs from FFA’ers from each state. PHS students enjoyed collecting, as well as autographing.
The trip and time in the hotel also provided the students with the opportunity to have fun and bond with their fellow Pleasantville FFA’ers and those from Melcher-Dallas and Chariton.
The convention was held at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts. Collins described the weather as “cold and blustery” which was a new experience to the kids who had come from the South and Hawaii.
This convention also marked the 50th anniversary of the first convention women were allowed to attend. The conventions began in 1928, but it was not until 1969 that females were allowed to join. The person who seconded the motion to open the convention to everyone was one of the speakers in Indianapolis. The keynote speaker was Bob Goff, a best-selling author.
Following an opening welcome session that involved video, lasers and music, students took part in different workshops to learn more about the history of FFA and leadership overall.
“These are impressive students with a lot of potential,” Collins said of the students he took on the trip. Chances are, the chapter will not return to the national event until 2021, unless a member earns the right to compete at nationals in 2020.