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FFA convention opens next week

Special to The Hays Daily News

MANHATTAN -- One of the largest annual gatherings of Kansas high school students is set to begin next week as more than 2,000 FFA members, agricultural educators and supporters converge at Kansas State University for the 85th Kansas FFA Convention. The convention will open Wednesday and continue through May 31.

The convention theme, "Grow," inspires members' growth as future leaders in agriculture, their communities and the world. The theme also reflects the many opportunities FFA offers students to develop their potential through Career Development Event, Supervised Agricultural Experience programs and more. Convention guests will hear from the retiring 2012-2013 state FFA officer team and motivational speakers, including Kansas State University linebacker Tre Walker and Greg Peterson of the popular Peterson Farm Brothers YouTube song parodies.

Forty members will be awarded proficiency awards for accomplishing specific career goals in their SAE programs. The State FFA degree, the highest honor a state association can bestow, will be awarded to 236 members. Three of those recipients will be recognized for having the best SAE programs in the state with the Star Farmer, Star in Agricultural Placement and Star in Agribusiness awards.

"The Kansas FFA Convention continues the 85-year tradition of developing students' potential in premier leadership, personal growth and career success," said Emily Beneda, Kansas FFA president and member of the Wilson FFA Chapter. "This week we celebrate the work and achievements of Kansas FFA members and future leaders of the agriculture industry."

Flyte, the National FFA mascot, will make special appearances throughout the convention. Attendees also will be entertained by the 69 members performing in the Kansas FFA Band and Choir, as well as a laser light show before each session, sponsored by the K-State College of Agriculture.

In addition to individual recognition, entire FFA chapters are recognized through National Chapter Awards and the Triple Crown Award. The coveted Triple Crown distinguishes the top state chapter in the areas of student, chapter and community development.

During the final session, six extraordinary members will be elected to the 2013-2014 state officer team to serve more than 8,300 Kansas FFA members.