Lubbock will extend a West Texas welcome to an estimated 10,000 FFA members, agricultural science teachers and supporters July 11-15, 2011, as the 83rd Annual Texas FFA Convention gets underway. Texas Tech University’s United Spirit Arena will serve as headquarters for the event.
Members of the agricultural youth leadership organization will spend the week attending leadership workshops, hearing nationally acclaimed motivational speakers, being recognized for their outstanding achievements and serving as the legislative body for the Texas FFA Association.
Nearly $2 million in scholarships will be awarded to FFA members throughout the convention and an estimated 1,396 members will receive the Lone Star FFA Degree, the highest degree of active membership bestowed by a state FFA association. Members will also be competing for state titles in public speaking and agriscience events. In the interest of premier leadership, personal growth and career success, the Texas FFA Association is also offering an opportunity for students to compete in the second annual Spanish version Creed Speaking Event. The FFA Creed is a five-paragraph statement recited by members to reflect their growing belief in agriculture and agricultural education. The Creed delivery and the five-minute question-answer period will be conducted entirely in Spanish.
The convention would not be possible without the continued efforts of the Texas FFA Convention Host Committee. The host committee is assembled from key leaders within the host city. The 2011 host committee is chaired by Jeff Lansdell of CEV Multimedia, Ltd. This convention will bring more than $4 million in economic impact to the city of Lubbock. “All businesses in Lubbock need to prepare for this massive influx of students, teachers and parents to Lubbock for this, the largest convention in Lubbock for 2011,”said Jeff Lansdell, Chairman of the Host Committee.
On Tuesday, July 12, at 10:00 a.m., Lubbock Mayor, Tom Martin will attend the official convention ribbon cutting ceremony at the United Spirit Arena. Texas country music will kick-off the FFA Convention Tuesday night with a private concert by the Josh Abbot Band.
During the First General Session, Wednesday, July 13, at 9:15 a.m., FFA members will be welcomed to the city by Chancellor of the Texas Tech University System, Kent Hance.
Texas FFA will honor soldiers and all American military service personnel, including Retired Marine Corporal Anthony Villarreal, during the Honoring Our Heroes Ceremony on Wednesday, July 13. In 2008, Villarreal suffered severe burns when a roadside bomb detonated near the vehicle he was riding in on a mail and water run in Afghanistan. It was his third combat tour; the first two were in Iraq.
Four keynote presenters will speak at this year’s 83rd annual Texas FFA Convention. Speakers Josh Shipp, host of the television show JUMP SHIPP and author of “The Teen’s Guide to World Domination” (St. Martins Press), and Vernice Armour, recognized as America’s First African American Female Combat Pilot by the Department of Defense, will speak about their experiences to FFA members on Wednesday, July 13. National FFA Secretary, Landan Schaffert, will also speak to convention attendees on Wednesday, July 13, at 1:45 p.m. Schaffert hopes to help members realize they can overcome any challenge and serve as an advocate for agricultural education and the agriculture industry.
During the Fourth General Session, Thursday, July 14, actor Jon Gries will address FFA members and supporters regarding the new feature film, Deep In The Heart. Deep In The Heart documents the true story of Texas entrepreneur Richard Wallrath, the largest individual donor in Texas FFA’s 83-year history. Gries has appeared in a number of feature films including Real Genius, Running Scared, Get Shorty, Jackpot and The Astronaut Farmer. Perhaps, he is most recently best known for his role of Uncle Rico in Napoleon Dynamite, in which he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award.
The Texas FFA Association believes in “giving back” to cities that host the Texas FFA Convention. This year’s project in Lubbock will be a food drive in conjunction with the South Plains Food Bank. Chapters are asked to bring non-perishable food items, toiletries, baby products, and paper goods with to the FFA Convention. The items will be collected during convention registration and the South Plains Food Bank will pick up the donations at noon Thursday. It is our hope every FFA member attending the convention will bring at least three items, but can feel free to bring as much as they want!
The Texas FFA reunites Texas FFA Past State Officers (P.S.O.) through decade reunions. More than 800 individuals have served as Texas FFA State Officers since the association was established in 1929. Serving as a state FFA officer is a rare experience, creating a small, unique alumni. The Past State Officers Alumni Association meets annually in conjunction with the convention, holding officer team reunions in ten-year increments and supporting the Texas FFA Association. The officer teams that served in 1950-1951, 1960-1961, 1970-1971, 1980-1981, 1990-1991 and 2000-2001 will hold reunions in Lubbock this year. Notable members of the Texas FFA Past State Officer Alumni Association include current Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples and former U.S. Congressmen Bill Sarpalius. The past state officer luncheon will be held on Thursday, July 14th, 2011 at noon.
Other organizations taking part in the Texas FFA Convention include the Texas FFA Foundation, Texas Collegiate FFA, Texas FFA Alumni and the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT). We hope to see you at this year’s 83rd Texas FFA Convention!