Gabriella's Heritage, Wendell FFA

My parents were born and raised in Jalisco, Mexico. I remember when I was younger, my mother would always tell me her story: her struggles as a child, what she went through and why she's so mentally tough. She always reminds me that I am so fortunate to have everything that I do. My parents met in Santa Maria, California, at a restaurant. Which is crazy to me, because now they own a restaurant here in my hometown, Wendell, Idaho. Many people don't realize how many hours they put into this restaurant, or should I say, my 2nd home. My siblings and I spend most of our time there, whether it's working or eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This restaurant defines why I am who I am, and shows the dedication and hard work my parents have gone through since they came to this country. 

 I have lived in Wendell, Idaho my whole life, 18 years now. It was never a big deal to me that I was Latino. I never really noticed it, or should I say, appreciated it until I entered my freshman year of high school. Honestly, I think I was embarrassed about it, especially since I couldn't speak Spanish that well and I always messed up when I spoke English. To be frankly honest, most of the time I can't speak either. I never felt like I could fit in. Yes, I was born here in the United States and could relate with others most of the time, but sometimes you just don't and that was rough for me. I didn't appreciate who I was or my ability to speak two languages until I joined FFA.

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 I didn't plan on joining FFA until my mom forced me to, and it was just because my cousins in California did. She didn't know what it was, but she did know that my cousins were successful and she wanted me to have those opportunities as well. I joined and competed in the Creed LDE. I procrastinated memorizing it until 2 days before the competition. I didn't do anything else after that until my ag advisor took us to the State Leadership Conference. At first, I thought it was pretty unconvincing. I couldn't relate to anyone. I know it’s something people shouldn't notice, but as I sat in that chair and looked around, nobody "looked" like me. I didn't see any other Latinos, besides the other two in my chapter. I know it’s bad of me to have noticed that, but I didn't feel like I fit in. Then, I saw and heard Jenny Bautista give her retiring address. She began with "Yo creo en el Porvenir de la Agricultura con una fe que no surge de las palabras...". She spoke about an FFA competition that was held in other states for Hispanic students. She continued to talk about how she used to be embarrassed of her Hispanic side and that she could never relate with others until she finally embraced it. After her speech, I realized that I was in tears. I felt and understood every single word in that speech like it was my own. To this day, I still tear up when I think about it. Since then, I have wanted to run for state office, because like her, I want to make a change, and show that diversity is important.

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 Not only was I inspired to make a change and run for office, I learned to embrace my ethnicity and my traditions. I also wasn't scared to be judged for my Spanish, and I began volunteering and helping whenever they needed a translator at my school or wherever else I was needed. I began expanding my knowledge of Mexican history and culture. I go to Mexico almost every year, which helps. I try to have discussions with my parents about their past struggles and memories, so I can keep them alive and pass them on to my children.

 When I run for state office, my goal is to inspire those like me and show them that diversity and being different is so important and essential. We all have something different to bring to the table and we shouldn't be ashamed of that. I aspire to bring more Latinos into this association, especially here in Idaho. Most Latinos have a background in agriculture because of their parents and we should learn to embrace and use it to our advantage. It is crazy and amazing to think about how much Hispanics and Latino Americans have contributed to the country's history, heritage, culture, and, most importantly, the agriculture in our day to day lives.


Gabriella, we admire how proud you are of where you come from and appreciate you sharing your story with all of Idaho FFA.

Beyond the Screens

Caleb Johnston, New Plymouth FFA

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I want you to do something that is likely already instinctual for you: hop on Facebook and scroll for 5 posts, then do the same with Instagram. What did you see? I just did this myself and here’s the breakdown. For Facebook I saw a motivational video (Miss Erica Baier nonetheless), a story of a girl who almost died from vaping, a couple celebrating their 26th anniversary, a crazy play that happened during Sunday Night Football, and an ad for a club calf sale (I’m a livestock junkie what can I say, it’s easy to appreciate good ones no matter the species). Instagram showed me a post regarding Pitt Hopkins Syndrome research, two people’s “last hurrah” vacations, a hike in beautiful nature, and a sappy post about how someone’s significant other is “literally my entire world” and that they couldn’t imagine what life would be without them. It’s likely your results were not the exact same as mine, but I would bet my entire life savings ($68.21 to be exact) that nearly each one followed a pattern.

We see the insane athleticism of professional athletes, the unmatched beauty of models, the “perfect” family moments, and the noble efforts of those dedicating their lives to a cause. While we do what? We sit there and think things like, “There’s no way I’ll ever be that athletic.” “I wish I was that beautiful.” “I’m never going to be able to do that much good in the world.” Social media has turned life into a world of polar opposites where you either can do something extraordinary or something terrible happened; anything in the middle is obsolete.

I’m here to tell you nothing could be further from the truth. Firstly, those outliers that we see all the time on social media represent less than 1% of the world’s population and less than 1% of life’s moments, so statistically it’s so unlikely that ANY of us fall into those groups. Secondly, I’m here to tell you that your worth as a person DOES NOT come from your abilities, status, or features. The people that have the greatest impact are some of the most normal appearing people you will ever meet. These secretly amazing humans focus on what small, intentional actions they can take each day to have a positive influence on those around them and their current situation.

What are you unsatisfied with? Which area of life do you find yourself complaining about the most? Where do your biggest hurts lie? After you answer these questions, ask yourself, “What things are in my control to affect this? What actions can I take today to make progress in this area?” 

Life is about progress, not perfection. Consider the people that have helped shape you into the person you are today. They are not celebrities. They are not models or star athletes. They are not perfect. They are normal looking people that are secretly amazing. Think about what things you can do to make the world a better place beyond social media. We can all be secretly amazing.

Caleb, thank you for sharing about something so relevant to our society and encouraging our members to be their own kind of amazing. Our association thinks you are an AMAZING human. Good luck this fall as you represent Idaho as our National Officer Candidate.


Tradition of Inclusion

Miss Geritz - Camas County FFA

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In the 5th and final paragraph of our FFA creed, EM Tiffany talks about the best traditions of our national life.  What comes to your mind when you think of these best traditions? Hard work? Equality? Honesty? Maybe something else.  For me, as both a student and now as an advisor, inclusion has been one of these traditions. In the three circle model of agricultural education, there is space for everybody in every circle. In my personal classroom, I look for ways to innovate and be sure everybody has a place at my table.  Perhaps my favorite way to do this so far has been working with a junior named Logan. Due to a lot of medical challenges, Logan has often times been prevented from being fully included. Here, in Fairfield at our school, he is included in everything, even SAE. Logan’s team sat down and found the best ways to incorporate what he is interested in into an SAE.  He has a keen sense of smell, so making hand sanitizer and soap out of Logan’s unique blends of essential oils seemed like a good way to help him build his knowledge of food and aroma science, and marketing and business. Logan and his team will also be selling these items to our community members, to help fund his experiences in class and the FFA. Last week, I had the opportunity to use my FFA jacket to help measure Logan for his own and I am excited for him to participate in our life changing organization throughout the year.  Take time in your own life and look at all the tables you belong to.  Church, sports, classes, and even your friend group and family. Are you making space for everyone to join? I firmly believe EM Tiffany would take great pride in the level of inclusion in our programs and find, just as I do, that making space for everyone is one of the best traditions of our national life.  If you see Logan around, give him a high-five! He can’t wait to meet his new FFA family.

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Miss Geritz, Idaho FFA would like to thank you for challenging our members, advisors and supporters to be inclusive to all students; Logan’s story is an inspiration to our association.

Why FFA?

Naia Evans, Rockland FFA

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My FFA experience began when I was in 8th grade. The first event I participated in was Creed Speed. I had memorized it fairly quickly and my advisor, the infamous Mr. Andy Nelson, had suggested that I compete in the upcoming Creed Speaking LDE hosted at the American Falls High School. Eager to impress my teacher, I quickly agreed. Sporting a borrowed blue corduroy jacket, I set out to show the judges my knowledge of FFA and my presentation skills. Needless to say, my lack of experience showed through and I did not do very well. Even though I was bummed about the results, I was suddenly aware of the amazing world of FFA, and I wanted to be a part of it. 

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My freshman year began, and I was excited to become more involved in FFA. I ordered my very own jacket and competed in the first competition that I actually did fairly well in: Floriculture. State Leadership Conference that year was an amazing experience that I will never forget. I decided then that I wanted to compete in as many different events as I could. In June of 2018, I competed in the Vet Science CDE. I learned quickly that even though I loved animals, I was not destined to become a vet, after that, most of my competitions were plant based. 

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In the fall of 2019, my advisor introduced me to the world that is Rangeland Management. Wanting to follow in my older brother’s footsteps- who had been on the team that placed first at state and third at western nationals the previous year- I was eager to give it a try. I learned all of the plants and their forage values, how to solve a stocking rate, and all of the other components of the competition. It was at that time I learned of my love for plants. I became fascinated and determined to learn more about them. When my team and I went to state, we placed third, which was a surprise to all of us since we had only been learning about Rangeland Management for roughly two months. We went on to compete at the Western National Rangeland competition in Logan, Utah and came in ninth overall.

My dreams of being an Ag teacher suddenly came to an end. Rangeland Management, I decided that was my calling. I would be able to work with plants and math! It was a dream come true. 

Throughout the following year, I participated in as many plant related competitions as I could; doing better in some than others. The competitions included: Floriculture; ENR and Forestry. I also signed myself up for as many plant related classes as I could, which due to the size of my school were few and far between. I learned that I didn’t only want to work in Rangeland Management, I decided I want to get my Doctorate in Plant Biology. 

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So when I am asked, “Why FFA?” I respond that it is because of the welcoming environment, the ability to try new things and always be able to connect with people... and because of a blue corduroy jacket. Most of my friends have been made through FFA, it is a new family that spreads across the nation. 

I will always be grateful for that Spring when I borrowed that blue corduroy jacket and braved the judges to become a part of something bigger than myself.



Naia, thank you for sharing why you choose to be involved in FFA! We are proud to have you as a member!