Q: Your time as a National FFA Officer came to an end at the 2017 National FFA Convention & Expo. Looking back, what was the most rewarding thing about your year at the helm?
“I crave pouring time into meaningful relationships and spending lots of time with people. This year, however, was more conducive to building lots of relationships in a short amount of time — also amazing. One of the most rewarding experiences happened when I had second or even third encounters with people I met throughout the year. Getting to reconnect and pick up where we left off didn’t happen often, but each time was incredibly fulfilling.” – David Townsend, 2016-17 National FFA President
“The most rewarding part of my year was seeing how each FFA member creates his or her own unique experience in the blue jacket. As I’ve traveled, I’ve realized there is no cookiecutter way an FFA member must look, think or act in order to fit in. We are allowed to be different. It’s so encouraging to see how each of us can be entirely who we are and still find a home in FFA.” – Victoria Harris, 2016-17 National FFA Secretary
“I spent most of my year with stakeholders in the Northeast and out West. The most rewarding part, by far, was getting to embrace and immerse myself into different cultures. From Hawaii to Connecticut, swing dancing to salsa dancing, aquaponics to mango farms to horse ranches, every state is uniquely different, but all have at least one thing in common — some amazing FFA members.” – DeShawn Blanding, 2016-17 Southern Region Vice President
“The most rewarding part of the year was seeing the true potential each person has to influence. I had the opportunity to travel to over 30 states for conventions, camps and chapter and foundation visits. I saw individuals influencing their classmates, chapters, communities, workplaces and the agricultural industry, no matter if it was at a community event or in the White House with our country’s leaders. Each of us has influence.” – Valerie Earley, 2016-17 Central Region Vice President
“For me, it has been the people! It was incredible to see the passion that FFA members across the nation have and to see them take action for what they believe in. Whether it was advocating for a new FFA license plate with members in New Mexico or talking to middle schoolers from Carroll County, Va., about agricultural education, FFA members take ownership in their future. I believe that is one of the best things about our organization!” – Ashley Willits, 2016-17 Eastern Region Vice President
“The most rewarding part of being a national officer was seeing how uniquely different everyone is around our nation. Yet, we are all drawn together by our jackets. Every member I met this year had such different passions and personalities, but all had the same goal of creating an influence through this organization. It is a true testament to the fact that no matter who you are or where you come from, you have a place in our organization.” – Trey Elizondo, 2016-17 Western Region Vice President
The 2016-17 National FFA Officer Team retired from their duties at the conclusion of the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo in October. Six new FFA members were elected during the convention to form the 2017-18 National FFA Officer Team.