The Pressure Cooker

Published 02/02/2018

A school board member once asked a superintendent and agricultural science teacher, “Why are the students who go through the FFA out performing their peers in college?  We have a great school district.  We graduate many of our students and many go on to college … but the FFA or “ag” kids seem to be standing out.  They are more involved in college and are finishing their degrees … simply put … they are getting the job done.”  The agriculture teacher smiled and said, “That’s simple.  Our students have been in the ‘pressure cooker.”

Students who are exceling in their academic pursuits … exceling in their college experience … exceling in their professional networks …exceling in life.  They may talk a little different – confident, proud, with a pleasant demeanor.  They provide a firm handshake.  Look you in the eyes and say their first and last name.  They get up early to get the work done.  They stay late to ensure work is complete.  They work well others and can express themselves through speech and the written world.  They engage in a noble profession … they are stewards and servant leaders.  They stand for the National Anthem, put their hands over their heart for the Pledge of Allegiance.  Will disagree but do so respectfully and through a procedure with decorum.  They represent one of our country’s most vital and renewable resources.

During a FFA members high school career, they are involved in supervised agriculture experience programs (SAEs); they are participating in Leadership Development Events (LDEs) and Career Development Events (CDEs); they help conduct chapter FFA meetings; plan and execute community service projects; attend leadership camps / conferences at the district, area, state and national level; and they do all this in addition to their academic responsibilities while ensuring they have passing grades to continue this level of involvement.  They get up early, feed water, get to school, train, practice and serve.  For fours years students are engaged in a “pressure cooker” preparing them for the rest of their lives.

Once at college … where’s the pressure?  No animal project to feed.  No leadership or judging team to train.  No meeting, community service project or convention.  Time to focus on college studies, find a campus organization … simply … excel.

Within in the Lone Star State there are more than 170,000 students enrolled in agricultural science classes and the Texas FFA Association boasts membership more than 121,000 members making it the largest FFA association in the United States.  Through Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources (AFNR), the Texas Education Agency (TEA) lists more than 54 courses students can enroll in within agriculture.  Participation through the 3-Circle Learning Model (classroom, supervised agriculture experience and FFA leadership programming) gives our students a competitive edge – we put them through the “pressure cooker.”

We have an incredible story to tell.  The Texas FFA is making a positive difference in lives across the Lone Star State and has been doing so for 90-years.  When parents in your community are looking for that “something extra” to help give their student a competitive edge … invite them into the “Pressure Cooker.”