Every trip to my Great Grandpa’s house was quite memorable. I remember the stories of his time spent in war, the dried banana chips he frequently snacked on, but most distinctly I remembered his strange fascination with puzzles. He spent hours upon hours studying the pieces, but his satisfaction came with locking the pieces together and seeing vivid detail added to the picture. I was continually amazed as he would complete puzzles that had hundreds or even thousands of pieces.
As my teammates and I have visited agriculture classrooms across the state I have seen the parallels between puzzle pieces and FFA members. Every student within FFA and Agricultural Education is unique, just like the puzzle pieces my Great Grandpa loved. Even in those thousand piece puzzles, somehow the unique pieces begin to take shape and form a beautiful picture. The students who come from an agricultural background represent the edge pieces. While they are a great place to start and crucial to the puzzle, it is the middle pieces that are often hard to fit that make a puzzle vivid and meaningful. FFA and Agricultural Education takes the jagged middle pieces and finds a way for them to fit perfectly within the puzzle. It takes anyone from the student at the top of their class to those who struggle to pass a single class throughout high school. It pieces together the athletes and those who would much rather spend time in the music department. It snaps the shy students with those who are more comfortable in front of a crowd. The pieces alone seem jagged and imperfect, but together each piece creates the beautiful picture of the National FFA Organization.
Occasionally, my Grandpa would get frustrated and reference the picture on the front of the puzzle box, this picture is comparative to the wonderful agricultural educators that guide students every day. In honor of National Teach Agriculture Day occurring this past Thursday, I would like to thank my front box guides and I encourage each of you to do the same. Mrs. Schilling, even though you were not my advisor for the entirety of my FFA career, you were the guide who helped me figure out the initial pieces of the puzzle within my FFA membership. Your passion in and out of classroom fueled me to work harder to form my FFA masterpiece. Ms. Williams, you are the one who helped me solidify the details within my puzzle, while pushing me to be better. Thank you for being the one who helped me strategize the best methods to complete my puzzle. Dad, even if being a teacher’s kid can be difficult, I am glad I had your support and encouragement throughout the years. You were the one who kept me focused on the puzzle of FFA and life even when it seemed like there were thousands of pieces that would never fit together. Mrs. Arellano, you helped me look at each puzzle life gave with a new angle. I never had the opportunity to have you in class, but before you were at Eastern Hancock you were the advisor with a new perspective and I sincerely appreciate it. Without each of you, my puzzle would simply be a box of jagged pieces. Your support allowed me to create a beautiful puzzle with vivid detail, just like the ones my Great Grandpa admired.
Embrace the puzzle of life and FFA. I encourage each of you to explore where your fit is within the puzzle of FFA even if you may feel like the jagged piece that will never work right. I also encourage all FFA members and supporters to appreciate those front box guides who help as we piece together the puzzle of life and FFA.
2016-2017 Indiana FFA State Reporter