I took a little time to stop out at the Service Motor Company Agriculture Center at the Appleton Campus on Friday morning to take in a regional FFA competition. This was the 39th annual FFA Career Development event that we have hosted. The morning’s competitions involved over 70 Wisconsin high schools and 1,200 of their students. Our parking lot was filled with yellow buses, which is always wonderful to see! And many of those buses left their local communities at a very early hour to be here in time for the event.
These students, as individuals and in teams, were competing in this regional event to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in 13 agriculture-related different areas…everything from agronomy to livestock, dairy products to ag mechanics, and more. The various events were being held in every classroom and lab of the Ag Center, but also in other campus buildings as well as off-site locations such as the county fairgrounds and a local stable. High school ag instructors were involved, our faculty and staff were heavily engaged, and many of our own students were assisting with running these events. Students that qualify will then move on to the state and ultimately the national competitions. Continue reading
Earlier this month on a single day I participated in two celebratory events…a GED/HSED graduation ceremony at the Oshkosh Correctional Institution (OSCI) and a Phi Theta Kappa honor society induction at our Appleton Campus. I couldn’t help but think about the interesting juxtaposition of these two events on the same day and how they were similar, yet very different. At OSCI, just over 80 inmates had recently completed their GED/HSED or a skills training certification in areas such as food service, horticulture, Braille transcription, or computer fundamentals. Phi Theta Kappa is an organization for students with high academic standing who are interested in leadership and service opportunities, an honor society pursued by many of our top students.
While the settings, situations, and specifics of these two celebrations were certainly very different, here I’d like to focus on the similarities. For these students of all ages, whether completing a GED or food service certificate, or earning a 4.0 GPA and holding a student leadership role on campus, the look of accomplishment on their faces was very much the same. The expression of pride by family and friends also looked much alike. And in hearing the words of these students, one could sense a feeling of hope for their futures, a readiness for the next challenge or next steps, and a growing confidence in the ability to pursue new opportunities. Hope, promise, confidence, opportunity.