By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — When the Albion-hosted 2013 State FFA Convention concludes in May, the more than 1,000 FFA members and officials in attendance can begin planning their return trips.
Medina, which last hosted the state convention a dozen years ago, was chosen Saturday to host the 2014 convention after an abbreviated selection process pitted MCSD against a pair of eastern New York schools.
FFA Advisor Todd Eick said that hosting the event will be a massive undertaking but one that provides many benefits to the school, the community and the chapter.
“It’s a powerful thing to see the sea of blue jackets — a sense of pride that may have not been there before,” Eick said. “This gives (the students) are boost of energy.”
As with Albion’s plans, the Medina-hosted convention would showcase local agricultural businesses and include the participation of chapter alumni and volunteers to judge student competitions and run the three-day event.
“This has the Medina FFA’s name on it, but it’s hosted by the larger community,” said Eick, who expected a program similar but unique from Albion’s.
It would also provide a reward for the students who’ve committed to many FFA projects over their school careers.
”It would be great promotion for our chapter and bring us together,” Chapter Treasurer Cassidy Albone said.
“We stand out and stand together,” Chapter Student Advisor Taylor Miller added.
SUNY Morrisville was scheduled to host the convention, but had to back out due to a scheduling conflict. That opened an opportunity that Medina’s FFA students seized.
In a presentation to FFA officials, students touted the benefits of bringing the event, which offers three days of competitions, workshops and tours, back to western Orleans County.
Among the benefits are the school’s facilities — Medina had the largest auditorium of the three finalists — a wide array of nearby areas of interest — places like the WNY Energy ethanol plant, the Niagara Wine Trail and nearby food processing plants — and support from the school, and both the agricultural and wider community.
And enthusiastic students.
“We were original, (the presentation) was set up as a game show where we rang cowbells to answer,” Chapter Secretary Ashlee Dow said. “It was all facts on our school and the convention plans.”
“They were impressed,” Chapter Vice President Chantelle Kidney said.
While there is much hard work ahead for the chapter, which will have to organize much of the event over the next year-and-a-half, they will get to see firsthand how to do so. Medina students are serving in the “courtesy core” for Albion’s convention.
Eick said Medina hosting could help bring FFA to a wider swath of nearby schools, noting interest in either new chapters or participation with Medina’s program at both Roy-Hart and Lyndonville.
“This allows districts looking at it too see the benefits ... it’s a truly student-operated convention,” Eick noted. “It’s a great opportunity for them to show their leadership skills.”Medina FFA Pancake Fundraiser The Medina FFA chapter will host a pancake dinner from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Feb. 7 at the High School cafeteria to raise funds for the chapter and student activities. Tickets for the all-you-can eat dinner are $5 pre-sale and $7 at the door.