Guest speakers for the February 14th Kiwanis club meeting were Annie Heard, Louisiana State FFA Vice President and Lauren Poole, Louisiana State FFA Senate Sentinel. They were accompanied by their Ag teacher, Ryan Riley. Both girls were part of a group of 75 state FFA officers from around the nation that went to Costa Rica for an international educational experience. There was an application process that included writing essays and course work including basic Spanish and research projects about Costa Rica. The girls took turns speaking about the trip and their favorite parts. They went on 2 tours each day for 10 days. Annie Heard began with the Pineapple Plantation tour where they ate pineapple fresh from the plant. Although Annie did not like pineapple she found that it was very good. Costa Rica is the #1 exporter of pineapple.
Lauren Poole spoke about a visit to the Farmer’s Market. It was really local and they saw the culture of Costa Rica there. Another interesting place was the Don Juan Organic Farm where they were given a small ball that they were told to chew like gum. It turned out to be fresh peppercorn which they spit out very fast. Their tour guide was very gracious and fun. Everyone was very kind to them. They passed around pictures of various activities they were involved in. They visited the Agricultural and Technical Institute which had a small farm. Lauren milked a cow. The had a tour of the Heart of Palm farm. They told the story of Miss Maria who started the farm to put her daughters through college. Then she opened a restaurant attached to the farm to help other women support themselves. They also went to the Fab Lab which was a science laboratory where they saw many interesting things. Lauren is interested in engineering and she saw how engineering could impact agriculture. Annie said she would like to be an advocate for farmers. So the trip had an impact on their career plans for the future. Both girls said they gained an appreciation for other cultures and learned about the power of gratitude. You have the power to influence others by you attitude and actions even if you can’t speak to them.
Winnfield is very fortunate to have to FFA state officers from our school. These girls are very articulate and present themselves well. They represent their school, town and state well.