Eleven months ago, Josiah, Riley, Deidre, Keegan, Ellie, and I were given the opportunity of a lifetime when we were elected as Oregon FFA State officers. Each of us had prepared in the weeks, months, and even years leading up to the convention for our year of service and we were filled with excitement for the months ahead. Our Google Calendar was already packed with events and activities, but we could only imagine the treasured memories that would be made during each and every one of them. We participated in our first leadership camp, hosted multiple career development events, and spent three weeks at the Oregon State Fair. Ten more leadership camps followed and our team visited over 120 high schools during Leadership Tour. I gained a new appreciation for our beautiful state after traveling from one corner of the state to the other, crossing through five counties in one day, and visiting towns with populations under 100 people. Each town was different, each community was unique, and each memory is treasured.

As reporter, I was the fifth member to join the team and I still remember those moments that five of us waited for the final officer to be elected that would complete our team. I heard the roar from the convention hall and as soon as she ran into the holding room our team embraced. The 2019-2020 year had begun. We started out as six FFA members who were committed to the same purpose. Our goal was to promote agriculture education and serve Oregon FFA members. We have remained dedicated to our task throughout this year and became best friends along the way.

Our lives were forever changed that Monday morning last March. We chose to serve and make a difference in the lives of others, but I did not fully understand how my life would be impacted by the people I have met this past year. FFA members welcomed me to their schools, their chapters, and to their homes. I am so grateful for each opportunity that someone shared their world with me. Maybe the conversation was in a living room during a card game, or huddled in a car to escape the cold, or gathered around a campfire on the Oregon Coast. We might have talked about life, about FFA, our families, our goals and dreams, or topics too random to explain in this blog. I can easily recall these conversations that I had with members because they all have become treasured memories

During the past eleven months I have travel across the state, across the country, and even across the world. Along the way I have collected gifts and trinkets (and lots of t-shirts) which are a tangible reminder of the people I have met and the places I have seen. Soon it will be time for me to say goodbye to this amazing year and I will be thankful for these reminders. But more importantly, I will be grateful for the treasured memories as they will last a lifetime.

With love and appreciation,

Olivia Palacios
2019-2020 State Reporter