At the 97th Oklahoma FFA Convention, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays had the chance to visit with National FFA officer from Oklahoma, Karstyn Cantrell about the difference FFA has made on her life, and the difference she hopes to make in the lives of others.
“Immediately after the National FFA Convention, we reported for some training, and our training actually continued through the month of January,” Cantrell said. “Starting in February, my teammates and I hit the road. We have been going all over. Since then, I have been to five state FFA conventions- 14 states in March, ten in April, and I might hit 11 by the end of May.”
By the end of the year, Cantrell said she will have visited around 40 different states.
“Something that I love watching is just the passion within every single student,” Cantrell said. “Everyone has such a different and unique story. For me, my story looked like agricultural communications and living on a farm, but I go to new places, and I see students who are incredibly passionate about welding and power structures. I see students who love veterinary science and have so many different projects and interests.”
Cantrell said it is humbling to see the number of students who pour into their communities in many different ways. These students, Cantrell added, are the next generation of leaders.
The journey of becoming a National FFA Officer, Cantrell said, consisted of a lot of self-reflection.
“I have been taking the time to learn more about who I am as a person, both in and out of the blue and gold corduroy jacket, and I believe that just makes me more dominant when I am in it,” Cantrell said. “I have a chance to understand what it is like to be out in the community, understand what it is like to be on the chapter level and in the classroom, and not I have the opportunity to just do that on a much larger scale, and it makes me much for grateful for the chances I have the opportunity to represent the 820,823 members.”
One of Cantrell’s goals this year, she said, is to create a relationship with each FFA member she meets.
“I believe that creating relationships is so important within this position, but for me, it is about maintaining that relationship and how I can pour into that student over the next coming years so that one day they can do the same things I am doing right now in a blank jacket,” Cantrell said. “I am just grateful that this jacket is an open (door) to that conversation.”
Each time Cantrell has the chance to visit with FFA students, she said she is always sure to encourage them to say “yes” to new opportunities both in, and out of the blue and gold jacket.
“I believe there is so much power in saying yes to opportunities, and if that is one thing I leave National FFA with this year, then I know it has been a job well done,” Cantrell said.
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