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