GLENVILLE – Each year, the National FFA Convention brings together thousands of attendees, making it one of the world’s largest student conventions. Over 400 companies attend to network and build agriculture awareness for the next generation of leaders, employees, customers and advocates. This year, Raven Friend was among those attendees representing Glenville State College at the 92nd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana October 30 – November 2.
Friend, an elementary education student majoring in special education, is from Exchange, West Virginia in Braxton County. She began her journey within FFA her freshman year of high school, heavily influenced by her family’s involvement in agriculture and FFA. “Once I got into FFA, I realized how important it was to me, and I realized it didn’t actually depend on agriculture nearly as much as I thought it did,” said Friend. “I learned many leadership and public speaking skills that I wouldn’t have learned anywhere else.”
She competed in extemporaneous public speaking against representatives from each state. There, she was prompted with a topic in agriculture and given thirty minutes to write a four to six-minute speech. She also advocated for West Virginia agriculture as a state officer.
“This opportunity means a lot to me because I’ve never had such a high honor,” said Friend. “The FFA is a national organization, and the speaking competitions are very competitive. This means a lot to me because I have worked hard at public speaking my entire life, and since this is my last eligible year to compete, this much of an honor is a huge deal!”
“I would like to thank my family for always pushing me to be my best self, and supporting me through all of my ups and downs,” she adds. “They got me involved with the FFA, and I had no idea where it was going to take me. Additionally, I would like to thank you my dad for instilling my love for FFA and my passion for agriculture. It has brought me success, and more importantly, friends and genuine happiness. I also want to thank my advisor, Mr. [Josh] Porto because he got me involved with extemporaneous public speaking, and has helped me tremendously with my speaking style. He took me to a lot of competitions, and has made my love for leadership and communication grow.”
Friend also credits Glenville State College for preparing her for the opportunity. “My education classes have made me more comfortable with talking in front of crowds, and they have given me confidence in my knowledge. All of my professors have been very supportive, and proud of my accomplishments.”
“The Education Department and all of GSC are ‘Pioneer Proud’ of Raven!” said Dr. Jeff Hunter, Dean of Education at Glenville State College. “GSC students are focused on serving their communities. Raven is a shining example of the high caliber of student GSC attracts.”