Strasser to compete at national Future Farmers of America convention
More than 64,000 students are expected to gather this week in Indianapolis for the national Future Farmers of America convention, competing in a multitude of events, and Carson High School CTE student, Holly Strasser, 17, will be one of only 52 students to compete in extemporaneous speaking at the event.
Strasser placed second in the Nevada state competition earlier this year. The-first place winner won a full ride scholarship to Massachusetts Institute of Technology and had to decline competing in nationals, so Strasser is going in his place. With goals of attending Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and law school at UC Davis, Strasser, a senior, said she’s excited to represent Carson City at the national convention.
“I want people to know that no matter where they are from, they can compete, travel and speak with confidence,” she said. “This is great for students, our school and our city. We want to bring awareness of FFA to more people.”
Charlie Mann, CHS CTE’s agriculture and natural resources management teacher, said he has watched her grow through the years, now having Strasser in her fourth year.
“She’s been able to grow with the FFA officer team, being an advocate for agriculture and what it does for the community, at local, national and global levels,” he said. “She has had tremendous impact on her peers to continue in agriculture education by helping people who don’t understand agriculture to see it’s a lot about biotechnology, research, public relations and to share the message agriculture is crucial to everyday life.”
Students competing in extemporaneous speaking are given the opportunity to speak on a variety of topics related to agricultural science and communities, education and technology. Students randomly select their topics, then have 30 minutes to write a 4 to 6-minute speech.
“One year I had to answer how to stop world hunger,” she said. “It’s about connecting urban cities with old farm town generations, and exploring how urban agriculture changes farm illiteracy in cities.”
Michele Lewis, Carson City School District CTE director, said this is the largest career and college expo in the nation. She and Mann are accompanying the students to the conference.
“Students attend leadership workshops, educational seminars and panel discussions,” she said. “Colleges actually come to recruit students during the convention, because FFA represents the best and brightest in agricultural education.”
Lewis said Strasser and four other CHS CTE students are able to attend thanks to a public/private partnership with The Greenhouse Project, a non-profit organization which leases land from the school. FFA students work in the greenhouse, which provides educational and vocational opportunities for students and provides locally grown agricultural and horticultural products for Carson City residents. Proceeds are used to help FFA students travel to local, state and national conferences and competitions.
Strasser said the conference is a great opportunity to learn what needs to change in the way we look at agriculture, and bring it back home to share.
“I want to make my city proud,” she said. “We are making a difference at a local, state and national level.”