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  COMING IN HOT
 
By: Taylor Cooper, Harmony FFA
July 13, 2012

 
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Nine thousand members. Ten candidates. One chance. One chance for each of the ten candidates to explain to the nine thousand members in attendance why they should be elected to lead the more than 86,000 members of the Texas FFA Association. That was the scene yesterday morning at the presidential election during the fifth general session of convention.

It has been a long road for each of the incoming state officers, the journey beginning as far back as February.

“It’s been really crazy,” said Nathan Box, Area II candidate. “Since each of [the incoming officers] were elected by their areas, we have gone to State Leadership Conference and state degree check where we completed a lot of the election process.”

The process included an interview and an essay over a topic of leadership accounting for 30 percent of his or her total election score. In addition, each incoming officer took an exam over general FFA knowledge, parliamentary procedure and agricultural facts, which accounted for an additional 20 percent of his or her election score.

With such a full schedule it can be hard to imagine that the new officer team would have any chance to bond and spend time together as a team. However, each officer is quick to assure the contrary. “We’ve grown and bonded so much in just the month that we have been a team,” said Jordan Bien, Area VIII candidate. “Now, we are a big happy family.”

When the time finally came for the election, the bond between the candidates was not tainted with a sense of competition, but rather strengthened with loving support from everyone.

“We actually said our speeches to each other and practiced thought questions,” Bien explained. “And last (Wednesday) night we all got together and prayed for about 45 minutes, and just had a big heart-to-heart.”

One by one each candidate left the soundproof holding room back stage, and fitted with noise cancelling headphones to block out any remnants of the thought question, approached the stage.

After the votes were cast and the election was over, the candidates finally relaxed and reflected on the day’s events. “I wasn’t nervous. I was really pumped and exhilarated. It was an incredible feeling,” said Jackie Lee, Area VI candidate. “I was super excited to see and hear all of the members and to know that that will be my life for the next year,” she said.

Today, the results will be revealed and Texas FFA will have a new president and first vice president. But to the incoming state officers, it does not matter so much who receives the title. “Any of my teammates would be a great president, but there isn’t any winning in this,” Box said. “We have all already won.”
 
 
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