The Jacket

“The front of the jacket says who you are, the back says where you are from but no where on the jacket says who you will be or where you will go.” Some people will never get to experience the famous blue corduroy jacket but for those of us who do, the experience is unforgettable.

     As a Jr. FFA member all I ever wanted was to wear that jacket just like I knew I was destined to do.  So on the first day of school when my Ag teacher mentioned FFA jacket night, it took every ounce of self control in me to not jump up and down screaming. It was finally going to happen. I was getting my very own FFA jacket.  I went to jacket night and got measured for my jacket and got it ordered. Slowly my dream of wearing official dress came true. I waited for my jacket for what felt like forever. Then the day came my Ag teacher said that it came in and I sprinted to the Ag building to get my jacket and put it on for the first time. When I slipped on the jacket for the first time my heart started pounding and I got happier than I have ever been before.  This was only the start of an unforgettable journey.

    To most it is just a jacket but to me it is so much more. This jacket is my #1 fan and my biggest supporter. This blue corduroy jacket pushes me, inspires me and shows me so much more than I can tell you. When I wear this jacket I fit in anywhere there is a sea of blue. So to you a jacket means nothing but to me it's my biggest reason for speaking, for writing, and for competing.

Practice makes perfect right? So a week before competition it was no shock that my ag teacher would squeeze in extra practices, one of which was The Iowa Park FFA Alumni meeting. This was the first time I would recite my creed and go through the Agriculture Advocacy script with my team in front of people in Official Dress. I couldn't breathe. I was so nervous that I didn't want to do it. My team, my teachers, my family and friends all tried to calm me down giving me inspiration and trying so hard to get me to believe in myself. Every bit of there words failed, terribly. With trembling limbs I made my way to my chair where my jacket laid draped over the back. I looked at the jacket as it stared into my soul trying to pry every ounce of faith out of me. My jacket and I made a compromise that night. When ever I was nervous I would zip up that jacket and go into the competition room with my head held high because I had all the faith I needed right there in that jacket. All the encouragement I will ever need is right there covered in blue corduroy. I stood in front of a room full of people and recited both my creed and my script better than I have ever done before.

The next competitions were a breeze for me because I had the support of my jacket and my chapter. Every time I slip on that jacket it's like the nerves just disappear. I will never know how my jacket impacted me the way it did but what I do know is I found something inside of me I would have never discovered without that national blue corduroy jacket.

Owning your own FFA jacket is like having a best friend hanging up in your closet. I will never forget how my life has been changed just in my freshman year, I can’t imagine how it will change in the next 3 years ,I can't wait to see where my best friend and I go next, because we still have a long road ahead of us!

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~Montana Lehman, Texas