“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Walt Disney
All living things must grow. In one way or another, plants of all kinds will encounter high winds, heavy rains, drought and damage. They will also bask in beautiful sunsets that could only be painted by the hands of God, enjoy the cool breeze on a spring day, and be nurtured by those around them. Oddly enough, people are a lot like plants and sometimes we have to be replanted so we can continue to grow.
As my junior year of high school began, I was somewhat lost. I had run for district office and failed, our chapter Skills team had missed going to state by one placing, and while I was involved with all aspects of my local FFA chapter, I couldn’t help but feel like I was destined to do something bigger.
Towards the end of my junior year, this “drought“ came to an end when selected to serve as a Texas FFA Foundation Ambassador. On the first day of ambassador training I walked into the room as a shy, scrawny, little girl. I sat in the back and listened intently to our instructions for the week. The Texas FFA Foundation director was speaking to us when he shared this quote, “The true meaning of life, is to plant trees under who’s shade you may never sit.” That’s when I knew I had to strive to make a difference in this big world – a world with big challenges. I knew it was not only my job, but my purpose and passion to plant those seeds of servant leadership so others could reap the benefits.
As an Ambassador, I had the opportunity to work behind the scenes at Texas FFA State Convention. I built relationships with sponsors, dignitaries, and special guests by advocating for agriculture and telling my FFA story. And with every story shared, my love for the Texas FFA grew, as did my need to “plant seeds” and I knew the perfect way to do that.
After my first convention as a Foundation Ambassador, I came home inspired to “plant seeds” in my community. Four of our seven chapter officers were seniors and we decided the best way to leave a legacy was to create a Jr. FFA program and a scholarship fund for students actively involved in the chapter. I ran for district officer again, and was elected Paris District Treasurer. It’s crazy to think that a year prior, I had been in a drought. Lost and looking for a change in the weather, and now I was growing as a person and a leader at a rapid pace, and I would soon need to be replanted.
As my high school FFA career came to an end I was chosen to serve as an Ambassador Team leader, then an Ambassador Coordinator, and onto the Texas FFA Foundation Intern for two years. With each new achievement, I was replanted so I could grow, and the Texas FFA along with my friends and family were there to nurture, cultivate, and help me weed out the bad and empower the good. With each replanting I tried to leave a few seeds behind for the next person, because it was – and continues to be – my greatest wish, to serve the people I encounter.
Because of my involvement with the Texas FFA Foundation I had grown my professional network quite extensively. As my graduation from Tarleton State University approached, I had several job opportunities present themselves, yet none were what I really dreamed of doing – I wanted to become an Agricultural Science Teacher. A few people were not so kind towards my decision. Many mentioned that I was wasting my time and talent becoming an ag teacher. However, I knew the impacts a great ag teacher and FFA program could have on a student. I knew that if I became an ag teacher, I would have the opportunity every day to impact my students in a positive way. I would be able to serve them and watch them grow. To teach them about my experiences in the storms, droughts, and blissful sunsets.
Just as plants need to be cultivated so do people. When I graduated college I had to be replanted and continue growing. Now, I am helping to grow those around me. Currently I am serving as an ag teacher at Como-Pickton CISD. I have an opportunity daily to make a difference in the lives of my students through agriculture education and the FFA. In the last year and a half, I have seen students exceed far beyond what they themselves expected. I have witnessed those “lightbulb” moments when the student just “gets it,” and they understand all the hard work they have put in, is paying off. I have watched my students as they stood up for something they believe in and listened as they eloquently articulated their point in the argument. I have celebrated with my students as their dreams of becoming chapter officers or Foundation Ambassadors have come true. I have watered, fertilized, and cultivated my students in an effort to prepare them to be replanted because as an agriculturalist, it is my job to ensure all things grow; and as an ag teacher it is my job to ensure they have the skills necessary to be successful.
Change is inevitable and while most people fear it, I encourage you to embrace it. Don’t be afraid to be replanted because it’s just God’s way of telling you that you need more room to grow. A wise person once told me to “Pay attention to the things you are naturally drawn to. They are often connected to your path, passion and purpose in life.” I am a product of the Texas FFA, I have found my passion and my purpose and I look forward to leaving seeds, empowering dreams and helping to replant my students for success for many years to come.