Area students attend National FFA Convention

Hello, readers of the newspaper, I’m here to inform you on something very important that recently took place in the New England FFA Chapter.

Six students from New England stand outside of the National FFA Center in Indianapolis, Ind. (Courtesy Photo)

By Eve Stegner
FFA Student Reporter

Hello, readers of the newspaper, I’m here to inform you on something very important that recently took place in the New England FFA Chapter. Well, maybe not that recent. I personally apologize for the time it took to write this article. This experience was just so extraordinary that it took all of this time just simply to put it into words. You may ask, What is this amazing event that this reporter keeps blabbering on about? Luckily, I’m able to summarize this answer into one word. Nationals. I was not actually present on this trip, but I happen to be closely related to someone who was, and that person is Levi Stegner. Here is his perspective on five students’ glorious adventure in Indianapolis on Oct. 16-22.

At 5 a.m. on a cold Sunday morning, five New England Students began their journey to Indianapolis for National FFA Convention. The bus picked up students from both Mott and Glen Ullin before heading to Bismarck. Once we made it to Bismarck, our bus and another bus containing FFA members from Bowman and Belfield merged onto a charter bus. We rode all the way to Fargo, where we stopped at the West Acres mall and ate lunch. We also picked up Kara Stegner, who was coming along to receive her FFA American Degree. And after Fargo, we drove the rest of the day, making a couple of pit stops, and finally arrived in Minneapolis where we stopped for supper and had a hotel rented for the night.

The second day was another driving day. But, in the morning, we got to tour General Mills. We got to see many cool things. General Mills had almost everything, including huge kitchens, a soundproof room, a fitness room for their employees, and even their own doctors and nurses. We learned many interesting facts about how recipes were created and many other things? For example, did you know Betty Crocker was not actually a real person? After the tour, it was time to get back on the road. We drove and drove, getting through Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois before finally arriving in Merrillville, a suburb of Chicago just inside Indiana state lines. We checked into our hotel and another day was gone.

Day three brought us to our destination. But, before we reached our destination, we made a stop at the Fair Oaks Farms. At the farms, we saw our share of interesting stories. We got to drive through a barn full of dairy cattle. We also got to see the cows go through the rotary milking parlor, a wheel that spins around and allows all the cows to be milked. The cows were quite impressive. They went in and out of the parlor with minimal problems. We also got to see pigs. There was a museum and the pigs were in pens that were below and under the museum. The pigs ranged in size from full grown to just-born piglets. In the pig museum, there were many signs scattered throughout that explained what the pigs did all through their life. But the most interesting activity all day was back with the cows. Through the other side of the glass, we got to watch a cow give birth. That was a sight that not everyone had seen before. After the cow and pig tours were over, we grabbed a bite to eat, and then we were on our way to Indianapolis. When we finally got to Indianapolis, everybody seemed happier. After hours and hours of riding on a bus, we were finally here. The first thing we did was check into the hotel. After that, most people just felt like relaxing for a while after the long journey. Almost everybody just had supper and then got ready for the next day.

Wednesday was yet another interesting day. The first thing the group did was tour the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. But, unfortunately, the tickets for bus tours around the tracks were sold out. But everybody still had fun, as there was a museum and a couple of gift shops. After the Speedway, we went back to our hotel and got ready for the first session of the FFA National Convention. The session was very interesting, with music and speeches by a couple of huge figures such as the National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown and Diana Nyad. The speech by Nyad was particularly interesting. Nyad was a world-class swimmer, and she tried to be the first swimmer to swim from Cuba to Florida, a distance of around 100 miles, without a shark tank. She tried this in her 20’s and failed. She quit swimming shortly after this. But, amazingly, she picked swimming up again in her sixties. And after three more failed attempts, she finally completed the swim, the first person in history to do so. She told everybody at the session to put all your effort and when whenever people are done, they should be able to say, “I couldn’t have done a fingernail better.” After the session was over, we went to the mall and eventually we were done with the day.

Thursday started out with the state picture. All FFA members from North Dakota had to gather into the Indianapolis convention center and one big picture was taken. Afterwards, we were free to roam the Convention Center for most of the day. There were many things to do there. There were booths from each state, many different colleges, and many different companies. Everybody got their fair share of free stuff while there. At the same time, there were very interesting workshops to attend, with topics such as leadership, teamwork, and raising beef cattle. At around 5 p.m., we met at our hotel and went out to the Indiana Scare Park, one of the best haunted houses in the nation. The park itself contains five haunted houses, each with a different theme. There were a couple very interesting ones. One was an insane asylum. Another was a zombie apocalypse that also contained a man wielding a chainsaw. Another one had us walking through the woods in the dark, with only a small light to guide us. One of the most interesting houses was a clown themed house. But not only did the house have the clowns, but we also got 3-D glasses and there were a bunch of bright flashing lights. After finishing the haunted house, we headed back to our hotel.

The first thing we did on Friday was head out to the IMAX Theater. The IMAX Theater was both interesting and enjoyable. After the theater, we made a short trek to the Indianapolis Zoo. The Zoo had a wide variety of specimens, including aquatic animals, a large building full of desert animals, many plains animals, and a lot of others. At around 2:30, we went to see a Dolphin show. It was incredible how many different tricks the dolphins knew. Seeing them fly in and out of the water doing flips and spins was quite mesmerizing. After the show, we headed back to our hotel, where we were basically allowed to spend our remaining free time in Indianapolis how we wanted to. Some of us went back to the expo and workshops, some went to the mall, and some just relaxed.

We got up on Saturday knowing we had a long day ahead of us. We left our hotel at 7 a.m. We then drove all day, passing through Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota before finally getting to North Dakota. And finally after an uncountable amount of driving hours, we arrived in Bismarck, and were picked up by a Mott/Regent bus. They drove us all the way to Mott, where we got picked up by a New England Bus. And, after a short drive from Mott, we finally arrived in New England. It may have been a long drive there and back, but the trip was definitely worth it. Everybody learned a ton, met lots of new people, and had fun. “

Hello, it’s me again! Wow, from what you just read, it sounds like these FFA members had a pretty exciting week! This was all from the perspective of Levi, but I also happen to be closely related to a person who tagged along to Indianapolis, but not for the same reason as the rest. Kara Stegner traveled up to Indianapolis to receive her American FFA Degree! Levi did mention this, but I believe that you should know how much of an honor it is to receive this degree. This is the highest degree you can achieve in FFA, and it involves putting in a lot of time and effort outside of high school and college. It’s been quite a while since someone from New England has received this degree. Needless to say, the entire FFA chapter is proud of her. Seeing that this article is getting a little long, I should probably stop writing so you can finally take a sip of your coffee which may have gotten cold in the time it took to read this. Anyways, you’ll be hearing from me again soon enough. Have a wonderful day!

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