Thousands of Oklahoma high school students are at Cox Convention Center this week for the organization’s state convention, bringing diverse talents, ambitions and interests and united by the camaraderie of FFA.
The annual meeting gives members from chapters across the state a chance to connect with their peers. One of the rooms in the convention center is filled with vendors of food and event souvenirs, as well as college representatives passing out information, especially to seniors.
The Tuesday and Wednesday convention is also serving as the culmination of a series of competitions held last week at Oklahoma State University. Awards were presented in more than 30 categories including landscaping, livestock, floriculture and an equine division.
Braden Hague, a sophomore at Edmond North High School, competed Tuesday in the state finals of prepared public speaking. Last week, his speech on precision agriculture won first place in the district competition.
“We’ve started to see the use of a lot of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, which concerns some people,” Hague said. “But precision agriculture has helped control chemicals we put on our fields, which protects the environment and produces higher crop yields that are free from pests and disease. This is necessary to feed a growing population.”
Hague, who joined FFA his freshman year, said he wouldn’t always have been comfortable addressing a crowd.
“I was shy in middle school,” he said. “Then I got into FFA, and now here I am, about to go into a room full of people and give a speech.”