Honors Summer Snapshots: Blake

Ever wonder what Honors students do during the summer? Honors Ambassadors and students will be taking you into their 2017 summer routines via photos. Honors sophomore Blake Lineweaver followed his love for FFA all the way to Maryland:

If you find yourself wandering campus on a particular Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday in the month of April, it’s likely you’ll stumble across hundreds of blue jackets swarming the MU and taking up all the seats on CyRide. You may be wondering: what’s up with the blue jacket/black pants combo, and why are there so many? These students leaders are partaking in one of the nation’s largest youth organizations based on leadership in agricultural education, the National FFA Organization. This last year, I had the most transforming experience serving these students as an Iowa FFA State Officer, and with that, I was able to travel all over Iowa, the Midwest, and even internationally to South Africa.

While my year of service with Iowa FFA ended in April, I was humbly invited to Maryland where I helped run their State FFA Convention from June 25-28 doing all things from announcing their officer run-ins, running pre-sessions, and presenting workshops. I gained a unique perspective running a conference different than my own, but most of all, I grew from the inspiring words of the 2016-2017 Maryland FFA State Officer Team. Here are the seven bits of knowledge I think we can all take away from these six leaders and the 89th Maryland FFA Convention:

  1. Be Adventurous: for the two days after convention, I went hiking in the Catoctin Mountains and kayaking a nearby river with a past state officer. With Maryland’s many winding roads and dense forests, we explored a landscape very different from what I’m used to. A great relief from the flat pancake of Iowa (for a majority of it, anyway).
  2. Be Present: numerous times I reminded myself of how precious these moments are: wearing the FFA jacket for maybe the last time, meeting miraculous folk I may never see again, and many other once in a lifetime opportunities. We can easily get sucked up in the haze of summer heat or quickness of it all. It’s so vital to make time to be grateful for the now.
  3. Be a Failure: from learning how to pronounce “Ca-tock-tin” to “Amelia F-Look,” I made many mistakes during my announcing of award results. There would be a slight chuckle from the audience when I realized I made a mistake, but I grew from my failures and eventually learned, just as we all do when we mess up. Don’t let one bad test or trial define you.
  4. Be the Sun: in other words, let positivity guide you. We light up the lives of others by encouraging positive growth and showing kindness. In the words of Amanda Farmer, ‘16-’17 MD FFA State Secretary, “A joyful person or a kind act can illuminate the lives of everyone around them.” Who likes a Debby Downer anyways?
  5. Be Brave: if you’ve seen the Disney movie Brave, bravery is pretty easy to define but one of the hardest to embody. Facing adversity can be difficult, but it challenges each of us to find strength in the most remote places. Whether that’s taking a tough class or venturing into unknown territory, breaking out of comfort zones inevitably grows us for the better.
  6. Be Passionate: agriculture is a huge part of my life and will continue to be throughout my career. While this rings similar for some, it’s most definitely not for everyone. Our world requires great diversity in order to make great change. Ellie Grossnickle, ‘16-’17 MD FFA State President, said it best, “When we find our passions, we see that they are what lead us and our actions. They motivate what we do and encourage us to keep fighting.”
  7. Be Bold: in all senses, we must be bold. Whether that means going against the grain, pursuing our dreams and aspirations, or challenging ourselves to think differently, boldness empowers us to accomplish the next great obstacle.

This last week has given me a renewed love for all things FFA, agriculture, and people. Even though I’ll be spending the next two months at a camp back home, these are messages we can all live by no matter where we are or what we do. Thank you Maryland FFA for making this Iowan feel at home in “Mini-America,” and I hope to return in the near future.

Me with the ever awesome Libby Baker-Mikesell, the ’16-’17 Pennsylvania State President! We were the VSOs (Visiting State Officers) for Maryland and did pre-sessions, workshops, and MC-ing. Super rad time.


The lovely folks of Maryland, the current National FFA President, David Townsend, Libby and I, and another foreigner, Faith Gilman from Georgia.


Amanda Farmer, ‘16-’17 MD FFA State Secretary who famously said, “A joyful person or a kind act can illuminate the lives of everyone around them.”


The theme of the 89th Maryland FFA Convention was Be Bold. From the cities to the mountains to the ocean shore, Maryland is basically “Mini-America.”


Ellie Grossnickle, ‘16-’17 MD FFA State President, and her words of wisdom: “when we find our passions, we see that they are what lead us and our actions. They motivate what we do and encourage us to keep fighting.”


The 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 Maryland FFA State Officer teams.


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