In case you haven't heard, this week is National FFA week. In case you haven't also heard, FFA is an organization that was started as the "Future Farmers of America" and has evolved from a bunch of ag boys to a tremendous opportunity for all high school students across the country to not only learn more about agriculture, but also demonstrate their knowledge through speaking competitions, judging teams, and both state and national conventions.
I'm married to a former Section FFA President and FFA sponsor, and was raised by a former FFA sponsor. However, I never participated because, as a little girl, when we attended an event where FFA officers were present, I told my dad that I would only participate if the jackets were pink, not blue.
And we wonder why my middle daughter changes her mind in the middle of the night and changes her pajamas, just because the Ariel ones seemed a little more stylish.
Anyway, it's not only FFA week, a week where the FFA students participate in various fun activities during school time, but it's also the week that my former high school and its section hosts their public speaking competition. Being a woman who not only taught English, but talks a lot, I was called upon (well, only after my mom called me in) to help judge one of the groups of public speakers. I was to judge those who were speaking in the "extemporaneous" division, meaning "off the cuff," kind of. The kids would have to draw from a pool of various topics in agriculture today, take 20 minutes, and use what they already know as well as resources that they had brought to come up with a 3-5 minute speech.
I knew this part. I knew I could listen and figure out who had good presence, knowledge of the topic, as well as basic public speaking skills.
Piece of cake.
Plus, I got to leave the kids with Grandma, get dressed up, and go to my former high school, feeling all old and "good ole days-ish."
However, the part that I didn't know was that once the students finished their little ditty, I, along with my two other judges, would have to ask questions about each student's topic.
When our "head judge" said that I could go first with my questions, I nearly fainted. As I listened to the first speaker, I jotted down a few notes about what I thought would be somewhat intelligent questions, but realized quickly, I had NO IDEA what to ask her.
What I really wanted to ask was, "Why does FFA require you to wear a navy blue jacket with black pants or skirt? Doesn't National FFA watch What Not to Wear? Don't they know the simple laws of fashion state that navy blue and black do NOT match?"
Anyway, I tried my best, but my questions sounded more like Suzy Homemaker and not Sally Farmer. I have a long way to go in my knowledge of agriculture, this I know, but in situations like this, my confidence in knowing what is going on outside my front door is down the drain. These kids knew their stuff. Some more than others, but they only had 20 minutes to prepare, and I LIVE ON A FARM, WITH A FARMER! I'm a card-carrying member of the Farm Bureau. This blog is about agriculture!!!!
Even though tonight really highlighted my lack of knowledge in the universal identification of livestock as well as cloning, biofuels, and farming for pharmaceutical use, I truly hope they ask me again next year to help. I hope my questions will be more intelligent sounding.
Here's hoping I can learn something in a year.