To My Teacher/Coach, From A Dedicated FFA Member.
Cover Photo: National FFA Organization
Dear Teacher and/or Coach,
Remember when I brought to your attention I would be gone a few days out of the however many school days out of the year because I will be attending an educational agriculture event that will be beneficial to my future? Do you remember when you said, “I don’t understand the purpose of you taking off for this” or “this will be an unexcused absence” or “you cannot make up the work you miss?” Well, if you don’t, don’t worry - I remember it very clearly. Sir/ma’am, you may not understand that there is a vast difference between a vacation and broadening my knowledge through these agriculture events that FFA has given me the opportunity to attend.
We’re not sitting around, sleeping in until well after the sun rises and watching Netflix all day. The time away from the classroom is not just an excuse to miss class and homework - it’s valuable time developing leadership skills, connecting with others that have the same passion for agriculture as I do. It’s late nights and early wake up calls practicing for career development events, which include hours spent memorizing and perfecting speeches.
As FFA members, we take great pride in our work, whether it be at our 9 to 5 job, school, or with our FFA team. Want to get an inside look at what we really do when we are away from school for your so-called “unexcused absence?” After a long day in the classroom, similar to the one’s we have, I invite you to come out and spend time with me as a day in the life of an FFA member. It might include time in the livestock barn with my fair animal, a chapter meeting, practice with my team for our upcoming competition, volunteering in my community or all of the above. IN THE SAME DAY. Become one of “us” for the day, and maybe you will realize that it isn’t just an excuse to get out of class, miss a day of work or practice. We are here for a purpose - to further our knowledge of the agriculture industry and be advocates for the future generations to come.
We have fun doing it, we laugh, carry on, and create bonds that will last a lifetime with people like “us”. But, what you don’t understand is we don’t have those regular 8-hour days. We will make up all of that homework missed, no matter how late we have to stay up to get it all done. Because that’s just what we do. We work hard until the job is done.
Maybe, just maybe, if you put yourself in our shoes for a day and observe our lifestyle, you will start to understand why our time at places like the National FFA Convention is so important to us. The benefits from those events go far beyond the benefits of the classroom. God raised the most disciplined, responsible, compassionate, and patient people to honor the blue and gold. We are blessed that God chose us to distill in this life, the Future Farmers of America.
A Dedicated FFA Member