Retiring My Jacket

Written By: Hannah Lipman
Published: January 1, 2018

High school is typically no one’s favorite time in life unless you’re just weird or crazy or you find something to make you want to come back into school each day. I luckily had the later. Since freshman year, I have been enrolled in FFA at Santa Rosa High School. FFA is the largest youth run organization in the nation with over 650,000 members this year.

While the organization was originally called Future Farmers of America, I never grew up on a farm nor did I even hear of 4-H until competing in the show ring at fair alongside 4-H members. All I had was a love for animals, and when a couple Santa Rosa FFA kids came into my 8th grade science class talking about the opportunities in FFA, I figured why not try it out?

Little did I know back then that FFA would soon practically consume my life and become my world. For the next four years, I lived and breathed blue and gold-more than my high school’s school colors. I memorized the Creed just for the fun of it, learned premier leadership, personal growth, career success, and met some of my best friends through that program.

I spent all four years of high school trying my hardest to grow and hold myself to the standards an FFA member should possess. I fell in love with my blue corduroy jacket that stated my name, state, and chapter in gold lettering alongside the FFA emblem. I competed with classmates, both individually and as a team, and I experienced so much in that jacket.

October 26th was a bittersweet day for me. It was the last day of the 90th National FFA Convention and during the second to last session I earned my American Degree. The American Degree is the highest award given to any FFA member; only about half of the top 1% of FFA members are able to receive this great achievement. I’m not going to lie; there was a point where I didn’t even think I would be able to have a key on my hip hanging from my jacket representing this honor.

I officially put my FFA jacket on for the last time in my FFA career, walked on stage to shake the national president’s hand, heard the member’s from my chapter who were there cheer, and received my degree. I graduated from the organization that held so many, if not all, of the good memories I had in high school.

Even though I am extremely excited I reached this point and attained my degree, I feel a little strange to think that this is it, I’m officially done. Yet, at the same time it gives me motivation to move onto the next chapter in my life. I know I will never be able to thank FFA enough for what it has given me, but I know I will use what I have learned to achieve more later on in my life.
Permission for use is granted, however, credit must be made to the author and Sonoma County Farm Bureau when reprinting this item.

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