The 90th New York FFA Convention held in partnership this year with Morrisville State College was a opportunity to showcase the success of agricultural education within our state. Over three days, students competed, learned and experienced opportunities within agriculture. The reaction from partners and guests was clear: the work you do in your schools and communities matters. You are making an incredible difference in the lives of your students.
We will soon be sharing comprehensive CDE and award results as well as looking to provide access to the photos taken on site. This weekend would be incomplete, however, without taking time to give credit where credit is due.
Morrisville State College was an incredible partner for our convention. From lodging and meals to real-life settings for Career Development Events, workshops and tours, the facilities and support available to us made convention an incredible experience.
Chip Ax - always a devoted friend and selfless volunteer to FFA - led the charge to bring the convention to Morrisville and was a humble, hard-working servant leader. He connected us with the right partners, recruited a team of outstanding Morrisville student volunteers and slept very little over the last year. He introduced the idea of convention to key parties at Morrisville who worked diligently to make FFA feel welcome - and to exceed expectations on the delivery of every meal, facility and opportunity. Thank you to all of Morrisville's volunteers but especially President Rogers, Dean Nyberg, Diana Johnson, Sarah Mazza, faculty who opened their programs to us for competitions or workshops; and the maintenance and grounds departments.
Central NY is home to some outstanding agriculture programs and three chapters have been working diligently to help with this convention. Hamilton, Madison and Stockbridge Valley FFA chapters provided all of our judges, coordinated all off campus tours, provided buses, managed courtesy corps, designed t-shirts... The list goes on and on! Johanna Fox-Bossard, Julia Hudyncia, Erin McCaffrey and Patty Waldron volunteered to help with convention over a year ago and their students have been an awesome part of the planning process. The work they did on site was extremely valuable - but the efforts these programs put in in the months before convention cannot go unrecognized. Oh - and did you love the FFA Light Bright in the convention hall?? The Stockbridge Valley Ag students worked on that for WEEKS! I've seen so many pictures shared with that already - such a fun representation of the state officers' theme!
Veronique Krohn was a convention intern this year, working as a liaison between the convention and Morrisville. She worked with registration data, room requests, association needs AND volunteer management. We are so grateful for her leadership and commitment to the convention.
Terry Hughes served this year for the first time as the CDE coordinator at convention and it was clear that a combination of his focus, his state fair experience and Morrisville's facilities allowed competitions to succeed. Thank you to ALL of our cde event coordinators.
The FFA Foundation led convention's financial and registration efforts this year. Todd Lighthall, Robin Waite and Kate Downes were key to this effort. On top of this the Foundation held a VIP reception for Past State Officers. The reception was beautiful, professional and an opportunity to bring alumni back to the convention. The moving opening ceremonies with our reunion officers combined with personal donations to truly take this VIP event to the highest level I've seen it. Thank you and congratulations to the Foundation and its volunteers for that.
Convention isn't just for students and Shari Lighthall makes sure teachers are heard, supported and engaged during our three days on site. She does all this in addition to the planning and support she provides to the REST of the convention. We were able to provide insights into next year's venue, hear about key programs and even be visited by Dr. Case about the alumni through her efforts. Shari always has the priorities and needs of FFA and Ag Ed in focus and is a critical part of this convention.
Finally, our convention is an opportunity for students (present and recent alumni) to truly serve. Whether it was running a spotlight, delivering content on stage, teaching workshops, taking pictures, organizing lines of award recipients or developing audio and video packages, our convention is very largely student run - onstage and off. You should be proud of the talents of these young men and women who have very recently come out of YOUR classrooms. I am very proud of (and grateful for) them - but I think the moment I am the most proud of happened yesterday after the crowds left the convention hall. Students who previously had been in heels and under spotlights changed clothes and spent 4 hours helping the stage and equipment rental company tear down the stage and load it into the back of a few semi trucks. They were dirty, hot and exhausted by the end but not one of them complained or thought it wasn't their job. Great work developing young people who understand that leadership is service, not attention. This convention was yet again evidence of all you do, every day, to grow outstanding young people.
Thank you for doing it. We will see you next year at the OnCenter.
NY FFA Executive Secretary