‘Captivated and inspired’

Issue Date: May 2, 2018
By Isabelle Dillsaver
Isabelle Dillsaver

I don't live on a farm, but my life has been greatly influenced by agriculture.

I am first-generation American, benefiting from the struggles of my grandfather, who built a future for himself and his family by working on farms in California. My grandfather came to America from Mexico because of agriculture. His hard work and determination is the reason I have so many opportunities today.

High school can be scary and intimidating for a freshman, but I found a family within the ag department and FFA chapter at my high school. Teachers and advisors help the students, and the students help each other as well.

As an FFA member, I've learned the importance of hard work, honesty and dedication—attributes that all FFA members share.

I was given a chance of a lifetime to attend the 90th California State FFA Leadership Conference in Anaheim, where I was captivated and inspired by the addresses of our retiring state officers, who empowered me to be the best I can be, stay true to myself and work hard, no matter the challenges. I was inspired to ACTIVATE, to find my purpose, be honest, help others and share what FFA teaches and represents.

All keynote speakers at the FFA convention were empowering. For example, a few shared about difficult childhoods or rough beginnings; they expressed that no matter what, we can achieve our goals. Others spoke about never giving up. National FFA President Breanna Holbert had the greatest impact on me. She told us to not let fear of failure hold us back.

At the conference, I also saw members who were innovating and making a difference in our world. FFA members were recognized for outstanding Supervised Agricultural Experiences and awarded STAR or proficiency awards. The dedication and commitment these students showed was incredible. I can only hope to one day be a part of something as intriguing and innovative as some of the projects that were presented.

FFA members are the future of agriculture and the future farmers of our land. It is important we remember that our nation was built on agriculture, and hold true to that.

What I learned in four days at the FFA convention, I don't think I could learn anywhere else. I got to witness what true determination, honesty and commitment look like. I will strive to hold true to these qualities. I will take the lessons taught and the advice given back to my school and to my chapter. I will do my best to be an example of a true FFA member and possibly inspire or encourage those around me.

The conference was absolutely mind-blowing and it is only possible because of the generosity of sponsors, supporters and volunteers. Thank you for making it possible for California FFA members like myself to be empowered and inspired.

I hope that in future years, more freshmen will be able to find a family within the FFA and take part in the California FFA State Conference. My experience has inspired me to reach for my dreams, be determined and live honestly.

(Isabelle Dillsaver is a member of the Buhach Colony FFA Chapter in Atwater.)

Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the California Farm Bureau Federation when reprinting this item.