By ERYKAH GONZALEZ
John Bowne High FFA President
As an “aggie,” one of the first things we learn is the FFA motto, “Learning to do, doing to learn. Earning to live, living to serve.”
Joining the agriculture program has left an imprint on me by teaching me life skills that have helped me develop. Being part of the “ag” family has helped me find my passion and a sense of belonging.
I have developed qualities of a leader, a hardworking student and a responsible individual thanks to all the opportunities agriculture has presented to me.
Throughout life, there are various milestones we come across that show our development as a character. For me, joining the agriculture program at John Bowne High School was what influenced me the most.
Being in the agriculture program has brought so many opportunities to me. For example, it has introduced me to the National FFA Organization. FFA has become a key aspect in my life. I have learned how to be organized, responsible and I have also improved my communication skills.
It took hard work and dedication to make it to the New York State FFA Convention to compete in aquaculture. Our first year, we placed second in the state with our team and I placed fourth in the state individually. We were proud of our work and looked forward to next year’s competition.
This encouraged me to become even more involved in agriculture and motivated me to run for chapter officer. Fast forward, I became the 2015-2016 historian. With officer responsibilities, I have become more organized than before. I had to juggle AP classes, officer duties, regular school work, SATs, my internship and of course, my regular teenager life.
It was a challenge but, I became a well-rounded person from it. This year, as chapter president, the officer team and I have to focus on running the FFA chapter at our school.
The agriculture program has also given me the opportunity to conduct my own research project for my senior year. We will be conducting all research ourselves with supervision from our agriculture teacher. This will give us a taste of college and how to prepare for college classes.
Agriculture, specifically FFA, has impacted me and shaped me into the person I am today.
Thanks to the agriculture program, I am able to participate in a paid internship at Alley Pond Environmental Center. I’m an animal caretaker and educator there. I educate the public about our animals as well as maintain our animal facilities.
Throughout my high school years, agriculture has been my highlight. Being an officer has taught me how to be a leader. Being on the aquaculture team has taught me teamwork and dedication. Being an intern at Alley Pond Environmental Center has taught me patience and communication.
Without all these opportunities, I do not know who I would be today. The experiences and memories at Bowne will stay with me forever.
After my last year here ends, I will definitely miss being an “aggie.” I look forward to making the most of my senior year here and getting ready for the transition to the next step in my life.
Erykah Gonzalez is a senior at John Bowne High School in Flushing, Queens and president of the school’s FFA chapter. She plans to attend New Haven University on a scholarship to study forensic science.