Kalie Hall celebrates with a Future Farmers of Japan member. Hall toured a Japanese garden designed, planted, and maintained by FFA students
TIFTON, GA (WALB) -
She poured fresh maple syrup on her pancakes in Vermont. She looked deep inside herself in the wilds of Wyoming, and she ate fish all day in Japan.
Former Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College student Kalie Hall knows her perspective on life will never be the same after a year traveling the country and the world as the National FFA Secretary.
"It was really special to see different cultures," Hall said. "I had to get out of my comfort zone as a Southern girl. I really learned to appreciate the connections to agriculture we have inGeorgia."
Hall was one of six national officers selected in October of 2012 at the national FFA convention in Indianapolis, Ind. Each year, four vice presidents are selected from four different sections of the United States. The president and the secretary are selected at-large and can be from anywhere in America.
"Officially, I was an ambassador for agriculture and agricultural education," the 21-year old native of Carnesville said. "We worked with government agencies, agribusinesses, and served as facilitators for leadership development for students throughout the year at schools, camps, and conferences. Our goal was to build these students' potential for leadership in agricultural positions. We traveled 100,000 miles and visited 28 states. During any given week, we could be in two or three states."
A special part of the year was a 10-day trip to Japan where Hall stayed in a traditional Japanese hotel where she slept on a mat on the floor. She also spent a weekend with a Japanese student and her family."We had fish for breakfast and supper," Hall said. "They grew cabbage. They enjoy some of the same American TV shows that we do. The adults in that particular household were not well versed in English. It was kind of a challenge," Hall said.
"But it showed me the importance of family, no matter if you live in Japan or the United States."Hall said her most memorable experience inside America was in the rugged back country of Wyoming."I spent a week there at a leadership camp that was a good hour away from civilization,"the 5-foot-3 Franklin County High School graduate said. "There were about 50 students there,and we had lots of time for personal reflection. They felt free to share their thoughts and struggles not only about FFA but about life."It was just beautiful there. I must say it was quite a bit cooler than our summers in Georgia."
After completing her ABAC education, Hall enrolled at the University of Georgia for the2012 fall semester. She took an entire year off to fulfill her duties as a national FFA officer, and now she's back in Athens aiming for a degree in agricultural education.
"I got to see a lot of talented teachers in action during the last year," Hall said. "They really reinforced my plan to be an agricultural education teacher. I realize the Lord could have other plans but I look forward to being in a job like that. I think all my experiences from ABAC, Georgia, and the FFA have played a part in His plan."
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