Cyndi's Two Cents

Here by the owl


During National FFA Week many of us remember our time spent building picnic tables, participating in soils judging contests, learning to weld, touring a meat locker, and going to State and National FFA Convention with a van full of teen-agers.  Many of you were active participants in a local FFA Chapter.  Some of you may have been active in a collegiate chapter as well.  I was.

The first paragraph of the FFA Creed has significant meaning to those of us whose roots in agriculture and FFA run deep:

“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds – achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years.”

My grandpa was charter member of FFA at Winchester High School in Illinois. My dad was chapter president and received the DEKALB award, which is presented annually to one FFA student per chapter who exemplifies scholarship, commitment and work ethic.  My sister, 2 years ahead of me in school, was one of the first girls to join our local FFA chapter.

I saw a couple of friends from my high school FFA days at the John Wood Community College Ag Banquet earlier this month.  Both have daughters who were active in the WHS FFA Chapter and have made the most of their post-secondary education.  

 “She is going to be a Mr. Goetze,” my friend Linda said proudly as she looked at her daughter.

A rush of memories comes back when I hear the name of my high school Ag teacher/FFA advisor.  I’ve written about him in this space before and probably will again.  He made a difference in so many young lives.

Mr. Goetze shared his passion for agriculture and community with us.  He taught us by doing, “with a faith born not of words, but of deeds.”

He believed in every one of us – even those who didn’t fare so well in the more “traditional” school subjects.  Mr. G didn’t compare us to our siblings or put labels on us.  He allowed us room to succeed and to fail and was always there to pat our backs or lend a hand to help dust us off and pick us up off the ground.

The year I completed my agricultural education studies and my student teaching, Mr. Goetze received the Agriculture Teacher of the Year Award from the State of Illinois.

I was fortunate to have many good teachers during the first 12 years of my education.  Seldom do we realize, at the time, the influence these educators have on the persons we are becoming.

Many of you have fond memories of the Ag teacher/FFA advisor who inspired you.  Maybe you are farming today because of something you learned from that person.  Maybe you are not farming today because of something you learned from that person.  I know that I am not alone when I reflect on those days in high school Ag class and FFA with a smile on my face and a happy heart.

Happy National FFA Week.

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