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FFA National Convention Set to Begin and Change Lives

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The FFA Blue Jackets are now arriving in Indianapolis for the national convention which begins Wednesday. Convention offers many things for the 50,000 members who attend, and often times inspiration for bigger things is what members take with them when they leave. That was the case for current National FFA President Ryan Best of New Mexico when he attended his first convention six years ago.

“Stuart Joy was a national officer and he is from New Mexico and having known him from showing and judging and then getting to see him up on that stage, it made me realize that this is something I could do. But I think that what coming to that national convention really showed me more than anything else was how badly I wanted to compete in the national CDE. So then in 2007 I actually won our state prepared public speaking as was able to come as a sophomore in high school to compete at that national convention. I was so excited and so honored to get to come. Even though it didn’t turn out quite as well as I hoped it would I learned so much from just coming and interacting with members who have the same interests as me.”

Best remembers a year ago when the national officers were announced and a potentially embarrassing situation because he never did hear his name announced was averted.

“It got down to the last one when they were calling national president and they said ‘from the state of New…’ and I didn’t hear anything else. I just knew I was the only ‘New’ left because they had already called New York and New Jersey, and New Hampshire didn’t have any candidates running that year. I was running to the stage and still couldn’t believe it was me and I get up on stage and I turned to Jason (Troendle from Minnesota) and asked if they really called my name. He said ya buddy they did and I said good because that would have been really embarrassing if they hadn’t.”

Best says the national officers spend some very intense days and weeks preparing for this week. One example?

“Our script book actually grew from being about twenty pages to about 100 pages, then 200, then 300,” he said. “And I think right now we have it nearly 1000 pages long of script that we have to memorize before convention gets here so we can be able to present all that.”

Helping kick off the convention this year is the “Rally to Fight Hunger.” More than 10,000 FFA members, teachers, alumni and volunteers will work hour-long shifts from Wednesday through Friday packing meals. The goal is to create 1 million meals by Friday night with half distributed in the Indianapolis area and half shipped overseas in coordination with Kids Against Hunger.[audio:http://www.hoosieragtoday.com//wp-content/uploads//2012/10/FFA-national-president-ready-for-convention.mp3|titles=FFA national president ready for convention]