Maybe you have a child attending with his or her chapter. Perhaps your child is being recognized for an award. Maybe they are about to receive their Hoosier Degree, the highest degree Indiana can bestow upon a member. Whatever the tie, odds are you know someone who will be making the trip to West Lafayette and Purdue University early next week for the Indiana FFA State Convention.
The annual event kicks off with state contests in many areas on Monday, June 13, and opens with an evening session. It continues through Wednesday, June 15, with the last session being held in the early afternoon at the Hall of Music. The new 2011-2012 state officers will be elected by delegates at that session.
State officer candidates actually begin their week with meetings starting this evening on campus. They will be in two days of intense interviews before a nominating committee, wrapping up with sessions Sunday evening.
Novice parliamentary procedure teams will be in contests on the opening day, Monday. Senior teams will compete on Tuesday morning. However, since final four proficiency judging has already been held, there will also be a session on Tuesday morning. That is how the convention can adjourn with an early afternoon session on Wednesday, instead of a late afternoon session.
Getting the members and advisors out of Lafayette sooner and on their way home was one of the main goals Steve Hickey brought to his office. The former Shenandoah FFA advisor is now the director of the Indiana FFA Association. He is housed in the Indiana State Department of Agriculture. Since the session has not adjourned until 7 p.m. or after in recent years, many people leave before the state officer team for the next year is officially elected, and before closing ceremonies. Hickey hopes this change will allow chapters from far corners of the state to feel like they can stay and be part of these important events, and still return home at a reasonable hour.
Hickey has also vowed that sessions will begin on time. He says state officers can still have fun and present highlights of their year to the crowd, but they can do it before a session officially begins. Once the start time is reached, he expects state officers to be going down the aisle in traditional form, headed for the stage to start the session.