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By: Texas FFA News
July 12, 2016

Area I

McKenna Bush:

Hello Texas FFA,

My name is McKenna Bush, I am a graduated senior from Canyon High School. I have been apart of the FFA throughout the entirety of my high school career and have loved every second of it. It is a distinct honor to be apart of the Texas FFA Association. I am overjoyed at the thought of representing both the Area I Association and the Texas FFA Association as a 2016-2017 State Officer. My involvement in the FFA has truly shaped me into the person I am today. Showing me that anything is possible, teaching me to not be afraid of stepping outside my comfort zone, and to take action toward your dreams and goals. My purpose and drive behind my candidacy for state office is to give back to the organization that has made an immeasurable impact on my life, to lead by serving, and to help others experience the loving, life altering, and supportive family that is FFA.

McKenna Bush
Area I State President Candidate

John Smithwick:

Hello Texas FFA,

My name is John Smithwick, I am a senior from Idalou High School, and I have been an extremely active member of the FFA for four years. I have found a true passion and love for this program. Through my involvement in all aspects of the FFA, I learned that nothing can limit your potential as long as you never give up. I began my FFA career as a shy, quiet kid who couldn’t even give a class presentation without becoming nervous. Although after being a part of this organization, I conquered my fears. This experience has changed my life and the only advice I can offer you is to find a passion within this program and become dedicated to it. No matter who you are, where you are from, or what your interests are the FFA has something for you and I encourage you to step up, not be afraid, and get out of your comfort zone. Never giving up when things are difficult is something that will make you stand out above the rest. After being led and taught by extremely dedicated individuals, I became inspired to continue to guide the next generation of FFA members. Texas FFA, it is my honor and a great privilege to be able to serve you. Remember, never let anyone tell you what you can or can’t accomplish.

John Smithwick
Area I State President Candidate

Area II

Ian Cobb:

To all Texas FFA,

I want to personally welcome you to the convention. My name is Ian Cobb, I am a senior from New Home High School. I have been in the FFA from the time I was in the third grade and I have loved every second of it. It is an honor and privilege to have the opportunity to zip up a corduroy jacket even if I always seem to be the guy who always has to make sure to keep his “tally-wacker” tucked in. My years of service as a chapter, district, and area officer have been instrumental in inspiring me to run for state office. However, many people will tell you the same thing. The first thing that really inspired me to run for state FFA president was, funny as it sounds, an accidental encounter with our 2007-2008 state president at the last convention held in Lubbock. I got separated from my family on a elevator in the United Spirit Arena, and I just so happened to have ended up with him. He took the time to escort me to a help desk, and I will never forget the words of wisdom he told me as he walked away with a smile, “Stay hungry my friend.” At the time it felt random, but I now know what he meant and I’ve applied it to every aspect of my life. Never be satisfied when it comes to improving and helping others be better than they were yesterday. Be so hungry for what you want that you go to bed a better man than you were when your feet hit the floor the previous morning. I live by those words. Service is in my blood, and I hope to bring that level of commitment to making things better serving you as your next state FFA president.

Ian Cobb
Area II State President Candidate

Carlie Hollingsworth:

Howdy Texas FFA,

I am so glad that state convention is finally here and I want to let you know how excited I am for all the amazing things that are going to happen this week! My name is Carlie Hollingsworth and I am a recent graduate of Garden City High School. I have been in FFA for five years now, but with my dad being my agriculture teacher, I’ve been involved in FFA my whole life. Nothing makes me happier than getting to be a part of this great organization and being able to serve you, the members. I’ve known I’ve wanted to run for Texas FFA State President since the moment I could talk, and I am so excited that I finally have the opportunity to do so! During your week here at state convention, I hope you will step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. The people you meet here at state convention are some of the best ones out there, and you never know, the person sitting beside you could one day be a valuable connection in your future professional career. Shine bright, Texas FFA!

Carlie Hollingsworth
Area II State President Candidate

Area III

Kayla Hanson:

Howdy Texas FFA,

My name is Kayla Hanson, and I am the loudest and proudest member of the Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2019! I have been a member of Texas FFA for six years now, and after spending a year outside of the jacket, it is an amazing honor to have the opportunity to zip up the blue and gold one last time. Ever since I was a Jr. FFA member, it has always been my dream to serve as a Texas FFA State Officer. It was those who inspired me that shaped me into the person I am today, and ignited that passion inside of me for the agriculture industry and this amazing organization. From the first day I ever zipped up the jacket, it was my goal to show the world that we can accomplish the impossible, and reach for our greatest dreams, despite all the things that hold us back. We are all ordinary people, placed on this earth to accomplish extraordinary dreams. I want to challenge each of you to make the absolute most of your time in the FFA, and reach for those impossible dreams, and show the world how extraordinary you can be. Texas FFA, it’s time for you to ignite that passion inside of you, and show the world that you are extraordinary!

Kayla Hanson
Area III State Officer Candidate  

Jenna Hein:

Howdy Texas FFA,

When July 1st rolls around, I can’t help but to count down the days until I pack my official dress, throw it in the FFA truck, and head to convention. Now I don’t know about you, but nothing keeps me more entertained during the ride than staring out the passenger window waiting to come across another FFA chapter just to see where they’re coming from. It simply amazes me that we all come from across the state to take part in the one and only Texas FFA State Convention each year. Each of us come from different backgrounds and a story that makes us all unique. Some of us are sons and daughters of fourth-generations farmers, while others were raised in urban areas and saw the FFA as an opportunity to become involved in the agriculture industry. There is no doubt that there are an “Infinite” number of personalities and stories that zip up the blue and gold jacket each and every day. It is at the moment when zip up our jacket that we not only represent the emblem on the front and back, but tell our own story and agriculture’s story as well. I hope that next year I will be able to zip up my very own jacket and hear your stories every single day. Texas FFA, I cannot wait to tell you about my favorite “Story” and I hope you give me the opportunity to lead you and this organization to new heights, or should I say “To Infinity and Beyond.”

Jenna Hein
Area III State Officer Candidate

Area IV

Bubba Harris:

Hello Texas FFA,

My name is Bubba Harris, I hope that everyone has a blast at this year’s convention! I am a graduated senior of Iowa Park High School, and have spent the past four years as an active member within the Iowa Park FFA Chapter and beyond. It is an honor to have the opportunity to address each and ever member of the greatest state association in the nation. My desire to become a Texas FFA State Officer is one, which is driven by the dreams and aspirations of the many passionate members of the Texas FFA. Without my involvement in this grand organization I would not be the person I am today. The lessons learned, memories made, and above all the friendships I have made will stay with me for a lifetime. As a representative of the Area IV Association and the Texas FFA Association as a 2016-2017 state officer, I hope to not only serve my with a great sense of selflessness, but above all I hope to inspire the best of the best to be even better. Finally, I would like to thank my fellow member; if it weren’t for each and everyone out there this organization would not be what it is today. I am a proud member of the this organization, but more importantly I am a proud member the biggest, and most supportive family there is... the Texas FFA.

Bubba Harris
Area IV State President Candidate

Conner McKenzie:

Texas FFA,

“Pura Vida.” Phrase, meaning Pure Life—a life of purposeful intent. I was able to experience the culture of compassion and infinite potential they bestow upon their fellow man through their servant’s hearts. Reflecting on that experience reminds me of Mathew 20:28, “Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve others.” My sophomore year, I asked to borrow some clippers from our chapter to slick one of our Houston steers. Being proud of the work I had done, I promptly returned the clippers to Mrs. Williams. However, like most teenagers, I failed to clean the blades after using them. She pulled me aside and said, “Conner, you’re supposed to leave things better than how you found them.” How many times do we forget that we have the power to influence situations and circumstances to make them better? That simple, yet profound piece of knowledge has encouraged me to do the absolute best I can in bettering the teams, organizations and people around me while showing compassion for all—Pura Vida. The life that counts; that happiness endures to mankind when it comes from having helped lift the burdens of others. It would be a pleasure to serve you this coming year and foster that “Pura Vida” way of life where we live for others and leave things better than we found them. And in doing so, I believe that together, we can fulfill our infinite potential.

Conner McKenzie
Area IV State President Candidate

Area V

Dalton Howard:

Hello fellow FFA members,

My name is Dalton Howard and I am running to be your next Texas FFA State President! I was born in Glen Rose, Tx where I lived for the first thirteen years of my life, trading back and forth between living with my grandparents, family friends, and sister. Later in 2010, I was blessed to have the opportunity to move in with my sister and her husband to have a new chapter begin in my life. I graduated from Byron Nelson High School where I served as chapter and Area V FFA President!
Throughout my high school career, I have come to a realization that the FFA is my life. Going through the Principles of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Class was a milestone for what was set forth for me for the upcoming years. I attended the 2013 Texas FFA State Convention in Dallas which inspired me to do what I am doing today, implement servant leadership! Servant leadership is all about serving others and leading with the right motives. Texas FFA we can become servant leaders together, and I hope that we can develop that mutual bond this summer in Dallas.

Sincerely, Dalton Howard
Area V FFA State President Candidate

Macie Clugston:

Texas FFA Members,

I am so excited to have the opportunity to Represent the Area V Association as a candidate for State President. My name is Macie Clugston and I just graduated High School from Callisburg. I have been in FFA for four years now and believe that every moment in this organization is a true blessing. I was most certainly not considered a “cool kid” in high school, but anytime I was in my FFA jacket or participating in a FFA event I felt as if I was a “cool kid.” My freshman year in Principles of Agriculture we were asked to memorize and recite the creed, as I learned the words to the FFA creed I realized that those words were similar to the morals I live by. During that same time I realized that I wanted to run for Texas FFA State President. I would like to have the opportunity to encourage every member to be a “cool kid” in the FFA. I believe the “cool kids” in FFA are the ones who take every opportunity presented to them. They are the ones attending all the camps, conferences, participating in several contests, applying for multiple awards, and encouraging other students to join the nation’s greatest youth organization. I am grateful for the opportunity to write this to hopefully encourage some of you to dive deeper into the FFA and use the organization for all it is worth! Texas FFA, go fearless into this organization and be a “cool kid” in the FFA!

Macie Clugston
Area V State President Candidate

Area VI

Charlotte Reeves:

Howdy Texas FFA,

My name is Charlotte Reeves, I am a graduating senior from Waskom High School. I have been an active member of the Waskom FFA Chapter for 11 years now and I am so excited to continue. Every year the Texas FFA State Officers visit our school and every year I have been given another reason to run for Office. I have been fortunate enough to have people around me who encourage me to be the best that I can be. I want to be able to encourage all of you too! I have two mottos that I live by the first being, “Be Bold and Make an Impact” and the second being “If I can take it, I can make it.” Don’t be scared to jump right into a difficult situation. Don’t be scared of the obstacles that stand in the way of your success. You were beautifully and wonderfully made and you will do big things if you just believe in yourself! I would be honored to help you become the best you possible and get to see just how much we can accomplish together. Texas FFA, its your time to shine brighter than you ever have before! Are you ready?

Charlotte Reeves
Area VI State President Candidate

Jake Traylor:

Howdy Texas FFA,

What an exciting time to be a Texas FFA member? With over 115,000 members and counting, we play a pivotal role in securing and advancing the agricultural mission. The necessity of strong student leaders in the agricultural industry is more crucial than ever, and that is why I am ecstatic to be a candidate for Texas FFA State President. When I was in elementary school, I always wanted to be the fastest kid on the playground. Whenever I found out that I wasn’t, I saved up enough money to go buy the newest pair of light-up Sketchers to ensure my lightning fast speed. Although the shoes didn’t help me win the race, they symbolized my determination and continued pursuit of excellence. When my P.E coach pulled me to the side he gave me some of the most important advice I’ve ever been told. He said, “Son, running is not your thing, but find your passion and pursue it with all you’ve got.” Texas FFA, this organization has become my true passion, and I genuinely desire to give it all I’ve got. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to represent you on a state level, and encourage you to engage yourself in all activities this organization has to offer. Texas FFA, remember that the blue corduroy jacket is your lightning fast Sketchers. Pursue your passions whole-heartedly and the possibilities are truly “infinite”. I cannot wait to see you at convention!

Jake Traylor
Area VI State President Candidate

Area VII

Charlie Hoppe:

Hello Texas FFA,

Welcome to the 2016 Texas FFA Convention and the State Officer Elections. My name is Charlie Hoppe and I am a 2016 graduate from Cedar Park High School. I have been involved in the FFA for four years and have thoroughly enjoyed every experience. I find it a great honor to be running for a spot on the Texas State Officer Team. I was inspired to run for the team my freshman year at State Convention and have used that inspiration to fuel my passion throughout my leadership positions in the FFA. I know many of you share a similar passion for leadership in agriculture and I encourage you to take every opportunity you can in the FFA. Leave no stone unturned in your search for success and satisfaction. Embrace your abilities and develop your talents to the highest level. After all, you are the leaders of tomorrow!

Charlie Hoppe
Area VII State Officer Candidate

Carson Wienecke:

Hello Texas FFA members,

My name is Carson Faith Wienecke, and I want to welcome you to Texas FFA Convention. I am from the Lometa FFA chapter, I have competed in numerous LDEs, speaking events, and received my Lone star Degree at State Convention last year. Besides wearing the blue and gold jacket year round, watching movies has also become a favorite pastime. One of my favorite movies of all time is The Breakfast Club. Besides being #squadgoals, this movie reminds us that in life, we can be a jock, nerd, or anything we set our mind to. With the future of the Texas FFA Association diversifying, the next set of leaders must be up for the task. I am. I believe that the person inside the jacket matters more than the position on the front and location on the back. You can be anything you wish to accomplish, regardless of how impossible it may seem. As you go into convention, look for your own Breakfast Club. By running for state office, I am hoping to add all of you to the list. Don’t you forget about me Texas FFA!

Carson Faith Wienecke
Area VII State President Candidate


Evagail Calvert:

Howdy Texas FFA,

My name is Evagail Calvert, and I am from the Grandview FFA Chapter and the Area VIII Association. I am so excited to welcome y’all to the am looking forward to being back in the same convention hall where I attended my very first state convention. Since that moment, I have had an infinite amount of opportunities in the FFA from early morning chapter conducting practices to road tripping across Texas. I have had so many memories in this jacket, and I am blessed to have the chance to make more with you. Whether you are just starting your FFA journey, or are receiving your Lone Star, I challenge you to attend everything you can and meet as many new friends as possible this week—don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! The FFA has so many wonderful things to offer, from stock showing and public speaking to leadership teams and the Agriscience fair. My hope is that each and every one of you will find your niche. FFA members, the time is now to stand up and step out and be proud to wear that blue and gold jacket. You are here because you are the future of this organization. It is up to you to make your mark that will last for infinity. Let your voice be heard and share your story!

Evagail Calvert
Area VIII State Officer Candidate

Meranda Mull:

Hello Texas FFA Members!

To be running as your 2016-2017 state officer candidate. The moment that I decided to run as a candidate, my clock began to tick. Time has been flying past me since my decision and in that time I have learned an important lesson. In order to beat time, one must live in the moment. This state convention week is going to go by fast and you are going to wish you had more time to dance, be with friends and sing along to the Randy Rogers Band. Texas FFA, I challenge you to beat time this convention by living in the moment! If you can challenge yourself to live in the moment, then the time you spend at convention will be your best! Together let’s make this year the best of our lives and keep our clocks ticking!

Meranda Mull
Area VIII State President Candidate Waco Midway FFA Chapter

Area IX

Creager Davis:

Howdy Texas FFA,

I hope you are all having an amazing time at State Convention! My name is Creager Davis, and I am from Alto High School. I have been a member of the Alto FFA for 5 years now, and have had some of the most incredible experiences of my life wearing this corduroy jacket. It is a true blessing to me to be a part of the Texas FFA. Each year at State Convention I become more inspired to run for Texas FFA State President so that I may inspire members as past state officers have inspired me. I encourage all of you to make the best of your week here and take every opportunity to try new things, make new friends, and grow as a person. I hope that when you do this it will open your eyes to all the opportunities the FFA has throughout the year and that you will try new activities like speaking events, SAEs, or running for an officer position. It is a true honor to be able to serve and inspire the members of the Texas FFA to experience new opportunities and meet lifelong friends. The FFA has countless opportunities to make unforgettable memories all you have to do is try something new. Texas FFA, the biggest regret people have is missed opportunities, so don’t miss the opportunities in the FFA!

Creager Davis
Area IX State President Candidate

Katherine Jewel Smith:

Hello Texas FFA,

I would like to welcome y’all to the convention! My name is Katherine Jewel Smith and I am from Madisonville, Texas.
I could not wait to join FFA and for the last four years I have cherished every moment of it. I find it a blessing and a privilege to put on the blue corduroy jacket. I have a passion for serving the Texas FFA Association and am seeking state office so I may give back to the organization that has given me so much. My desire is to encourage others to believe in themselves and know that they are capable of great things. I believe that each individual has the ability to move mountains and that it is a leader’s job to help ignite the will to do so. In order to achieve great success, we must become comfortable with the uncomfortable. Do not be afraid to jump into all the different aspects of FFA because you never know what you might find. The beautiful part of life is finding your fire in places you never would have imagined. Trust your heart and prove to yourself that you can live fearlessly. Texas FFA, the opportunities we have are endless. Dream big, then wakeup and make those dreams a reality.

Katherine Jewel Smith
Area IX State President Candidate

Area X

Christian Cavazos:

Walter Lippman once said, “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him...the conviction and the will to carry on.”

Hello Texas FFA members,

My name is Christian Cavazos and I want to be your 2016-2017 Texas FFA State President. I have been fortunate to grow up around the FFA. The values that have been instilled in me through watching our past leaders have been responsibility, loyalty, leadership, and commitment. I have witnessed past state officers come up on stage and they have inspired me to carry on the values and the hard work that goes hand in hand with the FFA. As your next Texas FFA State President, my mission and goal will be to instill these goals in you and to motivate you to practice them in your daily lives. In doing so you can make a difference in your own chapter and together we can make a stronger Texas FFA. Let’s all be driven and have the confidence in ourselves necessary to carry on the life’s lessons of motivating our FFA leaders of tomorrow. 

Christian Cavazos
Area X State President Candidate 

Morgan Thomas:

Howdy Texas FFA!

Never settle for less… always strive to be the best. Hello! My name is Morgan Thomas from the Lyford FFA Chapter and today I am currently striving to be the very best I can be, not only for myself but for all of you, my FFA Family. Over the years, we have discovered that many things can happen if one person steps up to the challenge. I want to be that person for each and every one of you. Texas FFA, this is our time to make a change. We need to be stronger and reach higher than ever before. I challenge each of you to go back to your respective chapters and help one person accomplish one of their dreams. If we all do this, there is no doubt in my mind that generations will continue to improve for years to come. TOGETHER we can make tomorrow better than yesterday. This organization has instilled a work ethic in each of us that is second to none and we never let any barrier stand in our way of accomplishing our dreams. While chasing our dreams, be it in the ring or classroom, we have formed such a bond that only people who have been involved in the FFA can truly appreciate. Like the saying goes, from the outside looking in you can’t understand it… from the inside looking out you can't explain it. We all have different talents within our own abilities be it Livestock Judging, Ag Sales or many other events, but we do share two monumental traits, our passion for FFA & our hope for the future of agriculture. And to me, these traits make our bond that much stronger. If you allow me to serve you as your next Texas FFA State President, I promise to do my part in continuing the tradition and the legacy that is the Texas FFA Association. Have a great convention! God Bless!

Morgan Thomas
Area X State President Candidate