The gym floor was covered in pink, blue, green and purple solo cups. Four students picked up pairs of pantyhose with a tennis ball inside. It was time for the Elephant March. The crowd laughed and cheered as junior Cade Tindol and three classmates swung their “trunks” around wildly, trying to knock down as many cups as possible.

“The cups represented the goals,” Tindol, winner of the game, said. “If you want to work to accomplish them, you have to find what you need to get done, do it, and move on to the next.”

This was not the assembly students expected.

The Texas FFA state officers, Cory Sinkule, President, and Preston Cummings, First Vice President, visited Thrall High School Sept. 6 and taught students about managing time, focusing on passions and finding opportunities.

The officers picked four students from the crowd to play Elephant March. Participants put pantyhose on their heads and knocked over as many cups as possible to win. The purpose of the game is learning how you can accomplish more if you give yourself more time.

“My strategy was to not give up and not stop until they were all knocked down,” Tindol said.

Along with the Elephant March, the audience took part in a group dancing game and a skit competition. To demonstrate how easy it is to lose a leader, students under the state officers’ direction got in a circle on the gym floor, came up with three dance moves, and chose a group leader. The entire group did the disco and the “floss” while the seeker tried to find the leader.

“At first I was kind of overwhelmed about it,” Jackson said. “I think that what the officers were trying to teach us is that no matter who your leader is, you need to show them respect.”

Practicing the skill of adaptability, students were divided into four groups, given a mundane object, and told to come up with a skit that showed as many uses of the object as possible. From a hula hoop being a bus wheel to a rake being used as a hair brush, students showed creativity and team-building skills.

“We really didn’t want the hula hoop, but we got together as a group and figured it out,” freshman Luke Fisher said. His group turned the hoop into a giant steering wheel. “Exavier [Garza] gave me the idea to do a bus, and I agreed. I told everyone when I turn, go with me, just to be silly. I think it turned out good.”

After each activity, the officers sat everyone back down and had students participate in a group discussion about how the challenges of the activity related to real life.

“I learned to do what you can while you can, because time is always limited,” senior Dalton Novak said.

The FFA Travel Team visits 400 schools a year, presenting at an average of three schools in a day. While the assembly in Thrall was not mandatory, it was opened up to the entire high school.

“I’m glad we had the whole high school there,” senior Thrall FFA President and Area XII Treasurer Lindsay Dube said. “People have this connotation that FFA is just for Ag kids, but in reality, there’s a place for everyone.”

The state officers left the group with the message of positivity. Do something you love to do and focus in on the things that make you, you, Cummings said.

“We don’t get to see the State Officers every year, and their message about time directly related to so many things happening now,” Dube said. “It really hit home.”

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