Green light. Gold star. I’m making a run for it! In just three minutes I managed to sign up for my very last four classes of my undergraduate career at Cal Poly this afternoon. Boom. Pow. Ka-bluey. Done. How is it even possible that four years have gone by so quickly? I believe I thought the same thing when I reached the end of my senior year in high school.

All week I have been recapping the highlights of my FFA career to celebrate National FFA Week. It has been gloriously fun (and funny) to spend quality time remembering the priceless moments that sprang from my participation in FFA. Today, we have come to my final year in high school and my 4th year as an FFA member. This year was truly the capstone to my involvement in FFA and the most phenomenal kick-off to the next four years I could ever imagine.

I seem to have the most pictures of my senior year, so I think I’ll approach this more as a photo blog and provide explanation through captions!

_MG_9440This year I was fortunate enough to be re-elected as Chapter President, still stationed by the rising sun. We were a small officer team of five. Small, but mighty!

PICT0049PICT0073I also served as a North Coast Region Vice President once more. Check out these lovely people! Folks who I will be proud to call my friends until forever and ever. Meet the 2008-2009 North Coast Region FFA Officer Team- and Mr. Mooney. What an AMAZING opportunity to be mentored by such a great man. Truly blessed to have fallen down that path in life. These particular pictures were taken at our officer retreat over the summer. There happened to be many a stuffed bear in the cabin we stayed in and one particularly special Smokey. Anyone remember that? 😉 228You could still find me with a steno pad in the back on my black Wranglers at Livestock Judging field days during the Spring, still placing everything in fours from best to worst based on their attributes. Getting better at it now. Finally. Practice really does make perfect. That and giving reasons at 5 a.m. in the van on the way to a college campus in California, even though we didn’t want to. However, I did end up 11th in the state when it was all said and done. Thank you Coach Lori!

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This was the Sacramento Leadership Experience (SLE). Twenty individuals from around the state of CA are selected to attend this capstone leadership conference each year and given the unique opportunity “to be a California senator”. For the week I was known as Senator Bankhead, and I argued on the Senate floor a bill on invasive pests in California. Who knew entomology would be one of my favorite classes at Cal Poly! FFA did. Really though- it was!

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Here is our chapter group after the Spring meeting somewhere WAY north. I think it was in Arcata, if I’m not mistaken. That plaque I’m holding means I won the regional prepared public speaking contest with my speech on water conservation. That topic warrants its very own blog post as I, along with everyone in an ag class that spring, lived and breathed it for a VERY long time, and the hard work ended up paying off in the end! Keep reading…

242Here’s a lovely group of ladies ready to take over the town of Fresno, for the time being! My last state conference as an FFA member. Great things to come from that week!

107This was probably- no, definitely- the most proudest moment I had in the FFA. Here I am pictured with Graham Blagg, State FFA Vice President, being presented with the champion CA State FFA Prepared Public Speaking award after giving my speech to four thousand of my peers in the Selland Arena. For three years I worked to get to the state contest and my senior year I finally earned my way out of the preliminary round. Like I said, this warrants its very own blog post, to come later this week!

scan0001This is Romeo. My third and final steer I would show at the Alameda County Fair! He did the best out of any steer I showed, AND I placed 8th in advanced beef showmanship with him! That was a proud moment and a small victory for us, indeed!

scan0003This is Jethro. The pair to Ellie Mae. Jethro won reserve champion All Other Color in the FFA market sheep division. My sheep project was all about the diversity. And I learned lots- like, sheep do NOT like to go for walks. It’s almost like walking a cat in a harness. Difficult. And Jethro liked to jump. A lot. 527Exhibit A. I believe both of my feet are off the ground in this shot. Fun! Extreme sheep jumping. It’s a new sport. Not.

502The following weekend after state conference that year I earned the CA Beef Ambassadorship and a new chapter in my book was opened. I attribute my success in that contest to my participation in FFA activities, and I am very thankful it gave way to yet another journey in my lifetime. Here I am at Harris Ranch for the CA CattleWomen spring meeting. This is pre- Mal the Beef Gal days~but one in the same.

I would continue the journey out of my blue corduroy for a short while to move to college, but only to put the jacket back on about a month later to attend the National FFA Convention to represent California in the National FFA Prepared Public Speaking Contest. Words cannot express what zipping up that blue jacket means, and you can only truly fully appreciate it if you have done it yourself. It puts chills up my spine to know the amount of passion that stems from FFA members. We truly bleed national blue and corn gold.

In high school I was learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve. Ironic that I would come to college to learn by doing? I think not. Everything always happens for a reason. And most likely it stems from some sort of passion. A passion to progress into the future.

How did FFA help your future?

Cheers,

Mal the Beef Gal

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