The Hutson School of Agriculture hosted Racer Roundup, an annual leadership conference, on Sept. 14 in the CFSB Center. The conference was held for high school students in Future Farmers of America (FFA). Murray State has been a collegiate member of FFA since 1998.
The conference included 535 FFA members from 27 different schools, most of which are in Kentucky, but also included students from schools in Tennessee, Illinois and Missouri.
The conference was created to build leadership skills for high school freshmen and to give seniors a chance to learn more about college and life after high school.
The students who attended the conference went through a rotation of four different workshops covering time management, professional dress, gender equality and team work, all of which were designed to teach students the skills they will need in their future as FFA members.
Kimberlie Moore, sophomore and collegiate FFA reporter from Hampton Ky., said the conference was not only a great way for freshmen to meet other people in their regions and gain leadership experience, it was also where they first got their renowned blue jackets.
Moore said the number of high schools and FFA members who attended the conference was higher than they expected. She said she was surprised everything ran smoothly.
Senior high school students who attended Racer Roundup also attended a senior seminar intended to prepare them for their college majors and give them the opportunity to ask questions about the University.
Matt Papineau, sophomore and collegiate FFA vice president from Marion, Ky., said every year the conference requests a national FFA officer to come speak to the students. This year he said the seniors and officials were very fortunate to have the speaker who came.
“This year we were lucky enough to have Seth Pratt, National FFA Western Region vice president, who came all the way from Idaho to speak at our leadership conference,” Papineau said. “This is a very big deal and we were blessed to have him here.”
Jeremiah Johnson, Student Government Association president, attended the Racer Roundup, and said Tony Brannon, dean of Hudson School of Agriculture, also spoke to the high schoolers at the leadership conference.
Johnson said Brannon was influential in inspiring and encouraging the students to be the best they can be and to take what they have learned at the conference back to their FFA chapters.
Luke King, sophomore State FFA officer from Burkesville Ky., said the leadership conference is also a fundraiser for FFA officers.
Said King: “The conference usually funds the national convention trip for collegiate FFA members and funds their professional development throughout the year.”
Written by Alex Berg, Staff writer.