By Maggie Hovermale
On October 28, 2017, I zipped up and unzipped my blue corduroy jacket for the final time. Getting an American FFA Degree is something that all FFA members are encouraged to strive for, and I was in denial that it was finally my turn. I had spent many FFA conventions as a member sleepily watching people from my chapter walk across that stage to receive that gold key. So much time and experiences have happened between then and now and I’m so thankful for the young woman I am today because what that blue jacket has taught me.
That day was a special one, because it marked the first two American FFA degrees from Stoneridge FFA, the chapter I helped to build from the ground up with my peers, and my agricultural educator who is an ACEL alum, Mrs. Rachel Scior, ’04. I had held in the tears in until Mrs. Scior pulled me aside and said, “Thank you. You helped build this FFA chapter and I’m forever grateful for your dedication. You are leaving a lasting impact.” I felt so humbled and so much love from that statement… and then began to cry.
That moment reminded of me of exactly why I am pursuing a degree in agriscience education, to leave a lasting impact. I thought I’d be sad hanging up my jacket for the final time, but instead felt excited knowing that the next chapter of my life is full of hope, leading, teaching, and soon taking my own group of students to convention.