Wednesday, December 2, 2020

2 Corinthians 5:17

So, I did something a little different for this blog post - I grabbed my bible and let my teammates pick any random verse they wanted. The rule was whatever verse they picked, I would write my blog about. So here we go… 


My fellow teammates and I have been in office for nearly six months now. That blows my mind to think about. I guess it's true that time flies when you’re having fun! As I was writing this I thought back to the beginning of the year when Kylie and I went on a little hike around the Leadership Center. Normally I wouldn't question going on a hike with Kylie, but there was a small problem: it was pouring rain, the only shoes I had were Crocs, she only had her Chacos, and all the trails were a complete mud pit. Did any of that stop us? Of course not! 


Off we go, hiking the trails of the Leadership Center. Was it muddy? Very. Did we slip and fall? Several times. Did I end up soaked after I fell in the creek? Yes, very much so. After we got tired of walking on the same trail, we “Forged our own path.” See what I did there? Long story short, we went so far off the trail that we got lost. By the time we realized that we were lost, we were stuck in this cycle of going forward and not turning back. This definitely was not a good idea. It took another 20 minutes of walking with no destination for us to decide we needed to turn back around. 


Have you ever been in a cycle like this or been stuck in your ways and not realized it? I have. In life it can be super easy to fall into these cycles. By the time we realize that we’ve gone too far off the trail we may think that we’re unable to turn around. Want to know my opinion? That is completely wrong. 


Alan Watts once said, “You’re under no obligation to be the same person you were 5 minutes ago.” If we apply that to Kylie and I going off the beaten path, we get something pretty similar. Watts probably would have seen me and Kylie, soaking wet, covered in mud, and laughing hysterically, and said something along the lines of “You are under no obligation to go the same direction you were 5 minutes ago.” Simply put, you don't have to stay in a cycle. In me and Kylie's case, we didn't have to continue to walk off the beaten path. We didn't have to stay in the rut we created ourselves that said “keep going forward.”


Most likely, you are not reading this during a hike and you are likely not walking off the beaten path. It is entirely possible, however, that you are stuck in a rut. You may think that you are stuck on this path and that you can't turn around. Let me tell you you can. 


You are never too far gone. Forge a new path. Embrace new opportunities.


Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come. The old has gone, the new is here! 

2 Corinthians 5:17


Never too far gone, 


Luc Sproles


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Derick’s Tips and Tricks for the Best Possible Thanksgiving

As I’m sure everyone is aware, tomorrow is one of the most popular holidays in the United States. A day that we have all been looking forward to for a while.


National Cake Day.


If you can believe it, National Cake Day is actually a thing. On the serious side, tomorrow is Thanksgiving! A time for us to show thanks for what we have and to gather in good company to appreciate those who mean the most to us. Whether you are gathering for Thanksgiving with close family or sharing the festivities over Zoom, here are some universal tips and tricks guaranteed to improve your Holiday Season. 


The Recipes - What’s Thanksgiving without the good food? Try out some recipes that have been passed down by your parents or grandparents. If they didn’t taste good, they would have never lasted this long anyway. That thirty year old recipe for deviled eggs might just be the key to your Thanksgiving meal.


The Company - Even with the good food, you need someone to share it with! Getting the grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins involved means more people to hear those funny stories you’ve been waiting to tell. If relatives can’t come in person, Zoom them in virtually for even more laughs when technology acts up.


The Decorations - Simple decorations go a long way. My family would always bring out the fake pumpkins and plastic leaves to give that homely feel to the place. If you are feeling crafty, hand-traced turkeys are always cute on the refrigerator. 


The Conversation - AVOID politics!! No one wants to get into a heated argument the one time you bring the family together. Let your grandparents tell the “hilarious” jokes they’ve been wanting to share all year. Tell a few stories of all the Zoom Fails you’ve seen this past year. Who knows? You might actually have a really nice conversation with someone.


The Entertainment - Thanksgiving is football time in the Williams house. When you finally get tired of staring at the tv screen, take the best plays and act them out with your family. If physical activities aren’t your style, cards or board games are always a safe option. Seeing someone angrily throw their cards in defeat can be pretty entertaining.


The Dessert - We couldn’t possibly forget about dessert! If I could skip the ham and mashed potatoes for pumpkin pie, I would in a heartbeat. Make sure to put out plenty of additional options like cake, muffins, and candy. The more sweets you have, the happier your household is going to be. Trust me.


The Food Nap - The best way to end your Thanksgiving is a well-deserved nap. We all need a little bit of time for the food to settle after stuffing ourselves. Need a sure fire way to fall asleep? Put on the golf channel. It’s worked for my family for years.


      I hope these tips and tricks give you some ideas for your Thanksgiving celebration! Trying something new and creative can really make this a successful holiday season. Good company and good food is what we all need right now, so enjoy the time you have with family and friends. Let them know just how thankful you are to have them in your life. From my family to yours, have a wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow. And oh… make sure you share those last pieces of pumpkin pie.


Happy Holidays! 


Derick Williams

State Reporter


Wednesday, November 18, 2020

We're All in This Together

My sophomore year of high school was a pretty fun year. I had a bunch of science classes, which I loved, and we put on really fun theater productions that year. We started off with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe for our Fall play. My mom got to be the assistant director for that show and it was really enjoyable to work with her. Just when I thought the year couldn't get any better, they announced what our Spring musical would be. It was High School Musical

It was every theater kids’ dream! Apparently, it was every high school kids’ dream! We had students flock from all different categories in our school. We had theater kids, jocks who had never been in a show before, kids who never did any other extracurricular activity, and kids in between that auditioned. It was basically High School Musical happening right before our eyes. The cast list was posted and not a single person got cut from the show. It was about to be the coolest show Wawasee High School had ever put on stage. And me? I got to be Ryan Evans.

Rehearsals commenced and the show was well underway. We were on track to have our first performance in March and we were all pretty sure we would have an incredible turnout. Two days before opening night, I got very sick. I missed school, rehearsal, and even parent night! Someone had to fill in for me and I was resting up, hoping that I would be fine by opening night. As if things couldn’t get worse, my mom then told me that our head director, Mrs. Thornburg, was in the hospital the day before opening night. I recovered and made it to the opening performance, still not feeling great. Unfortunately, Mrs. Thornburg didn’t make it to our opening night. She never made it to any of the performances, because she passed away the morning after our opening night.


We were all devastated. Our director wouldn’t even get to see the final product of our months of hard work. We had to continue on and do the final two shows, knowing that she would never be in the audience to see them. The community knew what was going on, so they all rallied behind us and our audience was huge. We did a beautiful tribute to her, singing a cut of her favorite song from the show at the end of the performances. There ended up being so much beauty in the midst of tremendous pain. Our production of High School Musical was more than just a simple musical. The key message in High School Musical is that every single person matters and that “we’re all in this together.” It shows that you need to look past yourself and reach out to others. It means reaching out to the quiet kid sitting by themself at lunch. Invite them over, be a friend. I think this is what Mrs. Thornburg would have wanted people to take away from that show. You have a purpose in life, and you are so loved. You are created in the image of God and He loves you more than anyone ever can. And Mrs. Thornburg lived out that love in her life.

Here’s a quote I want to leave you with:

“With one invitation, we can take someone

From outsider to insider

From outcast to beloved member

From unknown neighbor to coffee companion

From wallflower to life-of-the-party

From shortened life expectancy to 80 years of joy.”


Loving BIG,

Evan Coblentz

State Treasurer




Wednesday, November 11, 2020

The 10 Things Loren Can’t Live Without

Hey friends! I recently saw on Youtube a video that had famous people going through the 10 things they can’t live without. I thought it would be cool to tell y'all the 10 things I can't live without.


Cows- I cannot imagine life without the greatest animal on Earth. I have been surrounded by cattle all my life and have found a true passion in the cattle industry. Definitely a must have.


Family- Well let’s state the obvious. Without my parents I would not be here, but they are my biggest supporters and I wouldn’t be able to navigate this crazy thing called life without them.


IPhone-  We live in a world that revolves around technology and my phone keeps me in the loop. I’m a big fan of Instagram and Facebook.


Bologna- I would probably never eat lunch in State Office if it wasn’t for having 5 packages of bologna in the fridge. Bologna is the best lunch meat in my opinion. 


Button-up Shirts- I have approximately 77 button-up shirts. I have no idea why I have so many, but I can’t pass up on a great deal at Goodwill. If you see me in a T-shirt, it is probably because all my button-ups are dirty or need ironed.


Gold Bond Powder-  Whatever the use it never fails. I LOVE Gold Bond.


Hats- If I didn’t have hats, I’d go nuts. Ball caps, bucket hats, cowboy hats, and even visors keep the sun and hair out of my eyes and add to my self-proclaimed fashion statement.


Faith- My faith is my rock and my everything. Jesus is king and I can’t live without him.


Farming-  If you think of it literally, “No Farms, No Food,” which means I starve and I don’t get all of my favorite meals. Farming also runs deep in my blood and I’m not sure what life would be like without it.


Cows- DId I ever mention how much I like cows? 


Thanks for checking out the 10 things I can’t live without! Let me know if you and I have any of these things in common!


Your friend,

Loren Matlock


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Welding Out of My Comfort Zone

The summer before my Freshman year, I mapped out my entire high school class schedule. At this point in my life, I thought I was going to be a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, so my classes consisted of anatomy, medical interventions, introduction to the medical field, and Health Sciences at my local vocational school, Blue River Career Programs (BRCP). I’ve toured BRCP several times, and this place was so interesting to me. Instead of sitting in a chair and desk for 50 minutes, students get to learn hands-on in a specific field, such as firefighting, culinary arts, autotechnology, and much more. In the Health Science 1 class, I would get to learn the ins and outs of the medical field before advancing to Health Science 2 to obtain my CNA license. 

During my sophomore year, plans changed just a bit. I was sitting in my child development class one day when I came to the realization that I didn’t really want to be a doctor. I went back to my 4 year high school plan to make some adjustments. I knew now that I wanted to be a teacher, so I switched my Senior Year Health Science 1 class with Work Based Learning to job shadow a teacher. I submitted my senior year class requests just as I had planned. 5 days later, I was having second thoughts. I spent my junior year in Education Professions shadowing my 2nd grade teacher’s class, and I loved it, but did I want  another year of shadowing? I searched Purdue University’s class list for Ag Ed and focused on the Ag Mech classes, and my eyes were attracted to Welding. In the spur of the moment, I emailed my counselor to sign me up for welding at BRCP. 

My mom’s face dropped when I told her I was going to take welding class, and honestly, I was shocked I did it too. I’ve never welded a day in my life, so was I really about to use 3 hours of my school day to learn this new skill? Absolutely. 

I was the only girl in my class, which I won’t lie, was pretty cool. In a matter of days, I was figuring out the basics to striking an arc and simple stick welding. Before the semester ended, I was mastering all positions of stick and MIG welding with some OxyFuel in between. I started TIG in January and began constructing my project for the SkillsUSA competition in April. Although class was cut short in March and I didn’t get to complete my project or compete with it, I still found a love for the craft and found a way to finish my project at home. 

It’s crazy how plans can just change in the blink of an eye. Yet, when we take a leap of faith, incredible things can happen. We only have this one life, so let’s embrace every opportunity we can and step out of our comfort zone every now and then. 


Always embracing opportunities, 

Julia Hamblen



Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Wild Adventures With the Team

Boy oh boy do I have a story for you. 


It was a normal Tuesday afternoon at the Indiana FFA State officer house. We were all hard at work when SUDDENLY a large thud came from the glass door. Julia screamed. 


~Cue the scary music~


 We all ran to the kitchen to see what was wrong and there we saw it. A hawk hanging upside down from the screen door outside our house. The hawk fell off of the door and laid on our back deck.  What do we do?!? After calling a family friend, a DNR officer, we found a rescue sanctuary that would take the hawk. 


~Cue action music~


Now for our next problem… getting the hawk to the rescue center. Now don’t get me wrong I have done my fair share of chicken catching in my day, but a hawk? This one is a little different, and honestly a little nerve wracking. Luckily the hawk was still confused after running into the door so I was able to pick him up pretty quickly. Bird in hand, I walked into the lodge to find a box. Julia then brought us a cat carrier and we carefully got the hawk into the carrier and headed to the rescue center. 


Now would be a good time to tell you that we decided to name the hawk Henry. 


Evan, Julia, Derick, Henry and I piled into Evan's car and we were off to the raptor rescue. Halfway through the drive we had to readjust Henry so he wasn't sliding around in pain. Derick handed me the welding gloves. As I was trying to turn Henry he started to flap his wings and take off (let me remind you we were in the car.) Thankfully Henry was not strong enough to fly away yet so we were able to keep him down. 


Twenty minutes later, we arrived at the raptor rescue and handed our boy Henry off to be treated. Since we were in Nashville we celebrated our good deed with a scoop of delicious ice cream.


The moral of the story is simple, do good deeds with good people and celebrate with ice cream.


Your State Sentinel,

Luc Sproles




Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Capturing A Moment

Who else would count down the days until vacation? We can all relate to that feeling of impatience as the final hours before departure ticked away. As a kid, the highlight of my year was always family road trips. Packing up the van and heading south were some of my fondest memories growing up. Nothing else could seem to replicate that same feeling of excitement and enjoyment like a family vacation. To remember that experience, my mother would take countless pictures of everything and anything our family did on our vacations.


Pictures are some of the most unique items ever created by humans. Through the miracle of technology, we can capture a single moment in time and view it long after that moment has passed. People take pictures of everything in life. From small moments spent with friends to big milestones like weddings and graduations, people capture the moments that mean the most to them. Recently, I have become obsessed with Polaroids and instant photography. Just like family vacations, nothing beats the feeling of clicking a button and watching as the picture develops in your hand. When helping my grandparents clean out their attic, we found their original Polaroid camera from the 1970s. After dusting it off and taking a look through the lens, I knew I had to see if it still worked. Four days and an Amazon order later, a shipment arrived with a single package of black and white film. Inserting the film, adjusting the exposure, and pressing the button felt almost like a historic moment.


Surprisingly, the camera actually worked. Not surprisingly, the picture didn’t develop as planned. Unlike the cameras on our phones, you can’t make changes to a Polaroid. Once that picture is taken and it fully develops, you are stuck with the result. As you can imagine, my first attempt at using the camera illustrated that very point. Despite the less than perfect quality, the Polaroid made me appreciate the actual moment I was capturing. In life, we can’t edit the quality of a moment after it happens. The time spent with friends or a big life experience can’t be changed once the experience has passed. Just like a Polaroid picture, we are stuck with the results of our actions no matter how it develops. What makes me appreciate this is knowing we have the power to make that moment count. We have the power to live in that moment and to capture the best it has to offer. If we are given only one chance and one chance only, it's up to us to turn that moment into the memory we want to capture.


As my camera skills hopefully continue to improve, I encourage you to live in the moment. The next time you’re taking that family vacation or you’re going through a big life experience, think of what that moment would look like as a Polaroid picture. Make it count… appreciate the time you have… and turn that moment into the memory you want to remember. You’ll never want to make any changes.



Warm Wishes,

Derick Williams

Indiana FFA State Reporter