I had prepared for this moment for months. As my opponent and I stood in a small room, neither of us took a breath. The sharp ticking of the clock struck through the silence as it counted out each second of agony. Finally, we were summoned into the classroom full of students. Every eye was on us as we made our way to the front of the classroom. When we finally made it, we turned to look at our advisor. With a smile on her face, she made the announcement. "The new 2006-2007 Wildwood High Sr. chapter FFA president is... Lindsey Tillman". I was absolutely elated! FFA has given me so much, and it was my turn to lead everyone to the wonderful opportunities it could provide them.
I joined FFA in the 7th grade, and I became really dedicated to the organization when I entered high school. I joined several teams, I showed a hog and three steers, I participated in countless speaking contests and banquets, and I attended several conferences and conventions. I discovered that I have a knack for land and soil judging when I placed first at a regional contest and participated on our regions state team. Showing my fair animals helped me develop dedication and responsibility, and also proved to be one of the best experiences of my life. As for the speaking contests, I absolutely dreaded the first one. Prior to the FFA public speaking contest, I had always avoided speaking in front of a group of people. Public speaking sent chills down my spine and stuttering to my lips. I could know my subject inside and out, and if I had to tell a group of people about it, I would forget everything. However, I had performed groundbreaking research on a new beetle used to eradicate an annoying pasture weed, and my teacher thought that it would make the perfect topic for a prepared speech so she entered me in the contest. I ended up placing second in the contest, but I took home much more than a red ribbon. After that one contest, I have a lot more confidence about speaking to groups, and I am now the one who volunteers to go first in class instead of hiding in the back so that I can go last. I attended FLA, or Florida Leadership Adventures, with my chapter. At FLA I not only learned how to lead my chapter, but I also developed leadership skills I can use forever. FLA helped me develop so much confidence in my own decisions and my own abilities.
While my FFA experience will end when I graduate, the lessons it had taught me will stay with me forever. I will be able to use them throughout my entire life. Whether life leads me to the UF campus or somewhere far away, I know that I am equipped with the skills I need to succeed, all because I was part of FFA.