Josh Hass, a 16-year-old member of the Alba-Golden FFA, continues to set an example for fellow students by not letting a disability hinder his FFA experience.
“In 2011, the summer before his 8th grade year, he was a passenger on a side-by-side UTV that flipped. He suffered a severe head injury, and his optic nerves were damaged. As a result, he is completely blind,” said Josh’s mother, Paula Hass.
However, his disability is certainly not slowing Josh down. He has had a very successful year with his heifer, winning a handful of jackpot shows, placing second in his class at the Fort Worth Livestock Show and third in his class at the Houston Livestock Show.
“What other program can offer him the opportunity he has had to be successful; only the FFA, said Alba-Golden’s agriculture teacher, Robert Reynolds.”
In the show ring, Josh gets some assistance from another exhibitor, Emily Mullins. Hass and Mullins have worked out a system that allows Hass to show his heifer, Maybelina, with ease.
“He has a pretty innate ability to know where he is at and know what is going on. Emily simply directs him while in the ring. She tells him what foot to move by number and he knows which leg to adjust, Reynolds said. ”
The Alba-Golden FFA show team has supported Hass though many endeavors.
“Josh is also on our state-qualifying dairy foods team, which has been to state two years in a row” said Reynolds. “He will also be throwing the shot-put and discuss this year on the Alba-Golden track team.”
Hass, who seems to always have a big smile on his face, is a man of few words. When asked about his plans to show a heifer next year he said, “I will probably get another Santa Gertrudis.”
It is apparent that the FFA is truly making a positive difference in Josh Hass’ life by developing his potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.