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FFA convention filled with inspiration

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 May 2014 at 12:00 am

Local farmers play rock concert for students

Photos by Tom Rivers

MEDINA – The FFA State Convention is a showcase for student achievement and also inspirational speakers. On Friday night the winner of the extemporaneous speaking contest, Kaylee Eaton of the Cattaraugus-Little Valley FFA, delivers her winning speech in front of a crowd of about 1,000 people in the Medina High School Auditorium.

Eaton’s speech was about the emergence and promise of urban farming. There has been a “huge revolution in agriculture” with hydroponics, aquaculture and rooftop gardening, Eaton said. Urban farmers benefit with customers who are close by, she said.

Matt Lohr of Virginia shared about his experiences in the FFA and meeting his wife Andrea through the program. Lohr said his wife was a giving person who inspired others. She died at age 36 on July 10, 2011, after a five-year battle with breast cancer.

“The ultimate gift you can do is make a difference in the lives of people around us,” Lohr said.

He also shared about Roger Bannister, an Englishman who was the first to run a mile in under 4 minutes. For 75 years, runners tried to break that threshold but it didn’t happen until May 6, 1954.

Bannister’s achievement was a breakthrough for runners, and he showed the world it was possible.

“Now 3,500 runners have done it,” Lohr said.

He urged the FFA students to set high goals.

“Are you living life with a dream? Do you have a purpose?”

One of the parking areas by Medina High School is lined with tractors.

A local band, Savage Cabbage, performed Friday night in the high school gymnasium. Here lead singer Frank Starowitz belts out a note from a hard-rocking song. Mike Moore is in the middle with Gary Tarr at left.

Frank and his brother John Starowitz perform in the band together. They are also co-owners of Star Growers.

John Starowitz plays the guitar with the band Savage Cabbage.