Cloister FFA represented in national convention

By on January 26, 2017
Shown (Left to right) are: Taylor Kozlowski, Joel Potts, Sarah Stauffer, Drake Gooding, Danielle Oberholtzer and Destiny Stauffer-Ovensen.

Shown (Left to right) are: Taylor Kozlowski, Joel Potts, Sarah Stauffer, Drake Gooding, Danielle Oberholtzer and Destiny Stauffer-Ovensen.

About 64,000 registered attendees from across the country attended the 2016 National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 19-Nov. 22 as school buses and vans flooded the roads of the Circle City throughout the week.

The National FFA convention is one of the largest student gatherings that takes place in the country. While at the convention, FFA members attended general sessions, competed in Career Development Events (CDEs), visited a career show, and participated in volunteer activities, leadership activities, and educational tours.

This year, five Cloister FFA members, along with their advisor, Mrs. Stauffer, and chaperone, Amy Potts, had the privilege of attending the convention. Members who attended were: Joel Potts, Drake Gooding, Destiny Ovensen, Taylor Kozlowski, and Danielle Oberholtzer. The group departed on Monday, and after a long day on the road, they reached Ohio State, where they took a tour of the college’s Ag Campus and got to visit with faculty in the engineering and plant pathology departments.

Once in Indy, Drake Gooding jumped right into competition Tuesday. He placed first in Pennsylvania FFA’s talent competition in June and was selected by Nationals to perform his martial arts routines. Unfortunately, he did not qualify to advance to the semi-final level of National level competition but still had the opportunity to perform several times on stage for members as they visited the convention center. He prepared three separate selections for the event. The Dragon MMA Academy helped him get ready for the competition.

Joel Potts also represented the chapter in the National Creed Speaking CDE Thursday. He placed first in Pennsylvania and competed against the other states’ winners in the preliminary rounds. For the competition, he had to present the five paragraph creed from memory and then answer three questions regarding his interpretation of the creed from a panel of judges.

Unfortunately, he did not qualify for semi-finals, but he was recognized with a bronze medal at the Creed Speaking Banquet Thursday evening.

While Drake and Joel were competing, the other members were able to explore the convention center, meet other members from across the country, attend leadership workshops, and interact with representatives from several different colleges and industries.

Destiny Ovensen reflected on the experience saying, “It was one of the best experiences of my life… the convention definitely interested me in FFA a lot more.”

In addition to recommending it to others, Joel felt that he learned a lot of things and got a lot of new ideas that he’d like to bring back to our school.

Having been several times before, Mrs. Stauffer knows the trip will have long-lasting positive impacts on everyone who went. She believes it helps her students feel a sense of belonging. She shared, “I think the people who went got a chance to at least realize that FFA is a big organization, and that they are not alone.”

In addition to visiting the convention center, the group took advantage of the trip by enjoying some unique educational and recreational opportunities.

They were inspired by keynote speaker Diana Nyad, who shared her story of her swim from Cuba to Florida. They also attended a country music concert in the Lucas Oil Stadium featuring Cole Swindell and Chris Young and tried their logic at solving an Escape Room, where they had to use clues and puzzles to solve a mystery and get out within an hour.

Overall, the 89th National Convention was an incredible experience that these members will remember for the rest of their lives.

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