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Fellow Ag Teachers & FFA Advisors,

As you are aware, the 89th State FFA Convention is taking place next week (April 27-29).  The convention continues to grow from year to year and we are expecting a crowd of more than 6,000 at this year's convention!  Your preparation, participation, and assistance are more critical now than ever before. The State Convention is a life changing experience for many of the young people involved.  Your active involvement will play a vital role in making this positive difference.
I realize this is a very busy time of year and this is a lengthy reminder, but please take the time to read the following information carefully.

89th Georgia FFA Convention Reminders

*   Registration
All chapters should have completed the chapter registration process by now. State Convention packets are being created based on the registration numbers that you turned in. When you arrive at the Convention, please report to the Registration desk in the Arena ticket lobby. New this year, the registration desk will be comprised of three different lines.

Chapter Registration Packet pick-up
Use this line if the numbers that you submitted have not changed, and you only need to pick up your registration packet.

Chapter On-Site Registration
Use this line if you A) did not complete pre-convention registration or B) you need to make changes/additions to the pre-convention registration you submitted (i.e. adding buttons for extra students, parents, etc...)

VIP/Guest Badge pick-up
This line is for Sponsors/VIPs/Special guests - not for chapters or parents registered as part of chapters.

If you know that you will have additional attendees (student or adult), please pick up buttons for those attendees using the Chapter On-Site line at the Registration desk. There is no charge for adding additional attendees onsite. For security reasons, it is very important that every attendee is wearing an official State FFA Convention button or name tag during the convention (see information below). If your chapter has not registered and will need to register onsite, please be prepared to pay the $300 chapter registration fee with check or cash. The Registration desk will open at 12:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the Arena Ticket Lobby. Payment is expected in order for packets to be picked up.

Available at the registration desk will be dance tickets for $10 each. Registration will accept cash or checks made to the Georgia FFA Association. Convention program books will be available for pick-up as needed in the Registration area at no charge.

*   Security at Centreplex & Convention Center - ***(NEW)***
A new group is now managing the Arena at the Convention Center. They are taking extra steps to increase security of the students attending. Please prepare yourselves, your students and your guests (parents, administrators, etc...) for the following notifications.

-Each person will be subject to a wand and bag check in order to enter the Arena and Convention Center. Expect the entrance into the building to potentially take longer, especially for the two early morning sessions and two evening sessions.
-Knives (even average pocket knives) and any weapon will not be allowed to enter the building. Please leave them on the bus or in the hotel.
-The connecting doors between the Convention Center and Arena will have very limited access. Traffic into the Arena will be directed in and out of the main ticket lobby doors.

*   Medical Form
Please find attached a medical authorization form. I encourage you to have a medical form onsite for each student attending the convention.  Please duplicate and complete the forms prior to leaving school. It is NOT necessary to turn the medical forms in at the registration desk. We simply ask that you have them with you in Macon so that should an accident occur, we have the necessary medical information to get proper treatment for every student.

*   Official Dress
Prior to leaving your school, please make sure that all members have complete official dress for the entire convention. It is especially important for those members who will be receiving awards and/or degrees to be in complete and proper official FFA dress. Please address this issue with your students as it relates to wearing blue jeans, khakis, white socks, hats, and tennis shoes. It is our desire to maintain convention dress at a high level of professionalism. This includes the Career Show. When your students are at the Convention Center, please be sure that they portray the professional image of the state FFA convention. Again this year the FFA Alumni will be selling a few Official Dress items (i.e. ties, scarves, panty hose) at the State Convention store.
*   Appropriate Dress of Adults
The appropriate dress for teachers and others who attend the convention is professional dress. This includes coats and ties for gentlemen and a dress, nice pants suit, or skirt and blouse for ladies. Please help us maintain this standard of professionalism during the convention.

*   Courtesy Corp
The Courtesy Corp has been organized to provide additional assistance and direction for the convention. By now you should have received Courtesy Corps assignments from our Courtesy Corp coordinator, Mr. Kent Benson. If your chapter was one selected to participate in the Courtesy Corp, please be sure to follow through with the Google Doc that Mr. Benson sent and provide the information requested. The Courtesy Corps will meet with assigned students and teachers at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 27, in the Arena. All teachers assigned duties and responsibilities should be in attendance to review the requirements and duties of the Courtesy Corp. All other teachers are welcome to be in attendance. Please be sure to review the material that you received regarding Courtesy Corp assignments, and as a verification measure, please follow instructions found in a previous email from Mr. Benson.

*   Advisor Roles and Responsibilities - Assignment Sheet
Advisor responsibilities for convention are included with the courtesy corps Google Doc.  Please read them carefully and familiarize yourself with your responsibilities during the convention.  If you will not be able to fulfill your responsibility for any reason, please let Mr. Kent Benson know immediately ([log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>). As well as assigned responsibilities, please be aware of what is happening around you, adopt a neighborhood watch manner of thinking, and maintain a security watch at all times. With your cooperation and help, the convention will be a great experience for everyone involved. Every teacher on this list should attend the Courtesy Corp meeting.

*   Career Show
This year the Convention Career Show will be open at 11:00 a.m. on Thursday, April 27, and will close at 4:30 p.m. More than 70 vendors, including the Hall of Georgia displays, will be on display. The Career Show will be held in the Exhibition Hall on the East side of the Convention Center. Please remember that we will have a variety of sponsors and guests attending the Career Show. For some guests, the Career Show is their only experience at the FFA Convention. In order to insure that we portray the best image of the FFA at all times, we ask that students be in complete and proper Official FFA Dress for the entire Convention, including the Career Show.

*   CDE Finals Hall
One change taking place this year is the addition of the CDE Finals Hall. The Final Four round of the Sr. Prepared Speaking, Jr. Prepared Speaking, FFA Creed, Extemporaneous Speaking, Parliamentary Procedure and Conduct of Chapter Meeting CDEs will take place in the Finals Hall which will be located in Ballroom A & B in the Convention Center. The Finals Hall will operate all day Friday (4/27) using the following schedule. Any registered convention attendee is welcome to sit in and watch any part of the CDE finals. Students performing in the Finals Hall will perform on a stage and will use microphones. The Finals Hall performances will also be recorded.

Friday 4/28
8:00 a.m. - Parliamentary Procedure CDE Finals
9:45 a.m. - Conduct of Chapter Meeting CDE Finals
11:45 a.m. - FFA Creed CDE Finals
12:45 p.m. - Extemporaneous Speaking CDE Finals
2:00 p.m. - Sr. Prepared Public Speaking CDE Finals
3:15 p.m. - Jr. Prepared Public Speaking CDE Finals

*   Food Drive
This year the FFA Alumni asked each chapter to raise and donate food locally in your own communities rather than bring food to the State Convention. The Alumni will be accepted documentation of food contributions made in local communities, and prizes will be given. Chapters can drop of their food contribution documentation on Thursday, April 27, from 1:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the Alumni convention in the Convention Center Rotunda.

*   Mobile App & Streaming
Again this year, the Convention will feature a Mobile App and all convention sessions will be broadcast live (and archived) using online streaming. The Mobile App can be downloaded on iPhone, iPad, Android and most smart phones. To download the app, search for Georgia FFA in the App store. Please encourage your convention attendees, and those who cannot attend to download the Convention App and choose 89th Georgia FFA Convention in the Event Guide.

The Convention sessions will be broadcast live using Live-Stream technology. All seven convention sessions will also be archived and available online for later use. To access the Convention video once the Convention begins, and after it's over, go to www.georgiaffa.org<http://www.georgiaffa.org> and looking for the State Convention Streaming banner. Encourage students, administrators, Alumni, and community members who cannot attend the Convention to keep up with the proceedings live online.

*   Smith-Hughes Celebration
As you know, 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the historic Smith-Hughes Act that established vocational agriculture classes in public schools. We have a very special recognition ceremony planned for session 5 at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night. I encourage you to make it a point to have your students in attendance at the Friday night session, and be sure to stay through the end. You won't want to miss the Smith-Hughes Act celebration.

*   Session Attendance
This past summer at GVATA Summer Conference, there was discussion about the recent pattern of chapters having their members exit the delegate floor and the Arena before convention sessions are over. THANK YOU to those of you who establish the expectation that your students remain in their seats until closing ceremonies is complete. I hope that more of you will also set that expectation. It is important to set a positive example for guests and for young FFA members who are experiencing convention for the first time. Sessions end with closing ceremonies. On behalf of the convention staff, I ask that you make it a point see each session through to the end.

*   State Staff Assignments
If you need information about a specific activity at the Convention, or need to know who to contact about a particular situation, please be aware of the following staff assignments and superintendent roles.
Courtesy Corp. - Kent Benson
Proficiency Interviews - Dr. D.J. Sheppard
CDEs - Barry Norris
Sr. Prepared Public Speaking - Sidney Bell
Jr. Prepared Public Speaking - Brandon Ray
Creed Speaking - Jerry Stone
Extemporaneous Speaking - Shawn Collins
Parliamentary Procedure - Trisha Lastly
Conduct of Chapter Meeting - Josh Allen
Discussion Meet - Tommy Waldrop
Agriscience Fair - Christa Steinkamp & Melissa Riley
Living to Serve Activities - Kevin Jump
Alumni - Stan Mitchell
Career Show - Todd Teasley & Hannah Smith
Hall of Georgia - Casey Shumate

There will be many special guests attending this year's convention that will leave the event with an impression of FFA. Lt. Governor Casey Cagle will attend the opening session on Thursday evening. State Representative Terry England and State Senator John Wilkinson will be on hand on Friday, and State Schools Superintendent Mr. Richard Woods is expected to attend the convention as well. We will also have many school administrators in attendance. It is extremely important that our students make every effort to represent themselves, their FFA Chapter, their FFA advisor, and their school in a very positive manner. Please keep in mind that we all have a responsibility for the success of the convention and not just a responsibility to carry out the duties we are assigned. This is especially true in managing and supervising our own students as well as providing a safe and secure environment for all students. Everyone should join together to see that students are where they should be when they should be. Simply checking to see that your students are in the convention hall and are seated and acting appropriately will go a long way in improving the overall success of the convention. Also, teachers should be in attendance in the convention hall to assist with crowd control, to greet guests, and to maintain a safe environment for all students. All teachers should help identify special guests and assist them in getting to the correct location.

Thanks again for everything that you do to provide opportunities for your students. Let's Transform and have a GREAT Convention!!!


John (Chip) Bridges
Program Manager, Agricultural Education
Georgia Department of Education
1752 Twin Towers East
205 Jesse Hill Jr. Dr. SE
Atlanta, GA 30334
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Office Phone: 404.657.8311
Fax: 770.344.4411
Cell Phone: 706-410-4605
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