Transform is the theme of the 89th National FFA Convention now underway in Indianapolis. For the Indiana attendees, likely in excess of 4,000 this year, the Executive Director of Indiana FFA hopes they’ll all be inspired to know that they can achieve just about anything they want.
“All the stories, the great speakers, the workshops, seeing their fellow members on stage, it just really inspires them to go back and transform themselves into an even great member and citizen for our society, which obviously we need,” said Tami Neighbors. She believes in the Transform theme. She has witnessed the transformation of students going back to their home chapters after convention.
“They get excited about participating in local events, so career development events,” she told HAT. “They get out there and they have that confidence that they can achieve and they will achieve, and I think that’s the best thing. It takes kids who are shy and maybe reserved and it just brings them out of their shell like no other experiences. The FFA does that for them.”
The upcoming year could be very transformative for a former state officer who made the cut to the finals for national FFA office. Neighbors has high praise and high hopes for Kathleen Jacobs.
“Kathleen Jacobs is one of the most driven individuals I have ever met,” she said. “She is inspiring in her own right. She is fierce yet nurturing, and I don’t know how you can exist with so many great qualities in one person. I think she has the phenomenal ability to reach members on their level and help them understand their own abilities and their own place in the world and the FFA organization. So, she’s it, she’s the package!”
The announcement of the 6 new national officers happens at the conclusion of the final general session Saturday afternoon at Banker’s Life Fieldhouse. It has been nine years since the last national officer from Indiana, Tyler Tenbarge, now a Catholic priest in the Diocese of Evansville.
Thursday night Riley Lewis will be part of the Stars Over America pageant. Lewis, from Prairie Heights FFA is a finalist for American Star in Agricultural Placement.