Teens from Malheur County recently packed home a lot of honors and a lot of pride after the Oregon FFA convention. We reported the list of honors in last week’s Enterprise; yet whether they took first place or simply competed, these young people offer a sure dose of optimism in challenging times.

Take Monica Gomez, a senior at Ontario High School. She competed well in events at state and earned herself a scholarship along the way.

She makes a terrific ambassador for FFA, but also for high schoolers who are focused and determined. When the Enterprise spoke with her recently, she addressed questions with confidence, with grace and with humor.

But that’s what you can expect from any of the Malheur County teens who participate in FFA.

Watching any part of the state convention, in person or online, was energizing. They tackled their tasks, whether opening a meeting or competing in speech contests, with assurance that could be a lesson to a lot of adults.

FFA was founded in 1928, and an Oregon delegation was present for that birth in Kansas City, Missouri. Two years later, national FFA adopted its creed.

The creed aptly captures the optimism and confidence you find in FFA members.

With that creed, an FFA member declares a belief “in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds,” that “to live and work on a good farm, or to be engaged in other agricultural pursuits, is pleasant as well as challenging,” and a belief “in in less need for charity and more of it when needed.”

And that self-confidence? The creed captures that too: “I believe in my own ability to work efficiently and think clearly, with such knowledge and skill as I can secure, and in the ability of progressive agriculturists to serve our own and the public interest in producing and marketing the product of our toil.”

Of course, farmers have to be optimists. They have to believe that there will be enough water, not too much heat, and enough help to bring in the crop.

Certainly not all those in FFA will go on to farming, climbing on a tractor or a horse and setting to work. But they will carry into their pursuits a grounding in what’s right, what’s good and what’s possible.

They demonstrate such character not only when competing but in their conduct in class and in the community, in their volunteer work, and in their regard for decency and civility.

Behind these FFA members are advisers, teachers and parents who provide the guidance, the opportunity, and the room to grow and learn. They deserve appreciation for what they do.

But for the moment we want to stand and applaud every FFA student in Malheur County. Your county, state and indeed the country need your confidence and strength. You have shown you have those traits. We are eager to see where you each go next to put them to work for us all.                        –LZ

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