Hoppe talks to the top


Senior Charlie Hoppe at one of the beginning FFA meeting’s of the year. He is the 2015-2016 FFA president. Looking back to Freshman year, Hoppe didn’t realize the success he would have. “I really had no idea I would be blessed with as much success as I have,” Hoppe said. “Mr. Jack has helped me along every step of the way and most of the success is due to his mentoring.”

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

He stands before the stage, nervously palming his note cards. His mind races through his mental bullet list. Hands sweating and heart racing as his name is called. He ambles towards the center, with the stage lights beating down on him, and says the words that he has been practicing for all these months….

Senior and President of FFA, Charlie Hoppe is one of the most prominent figures in CP’s FFA world. The club includes everything from livestock to land management, which is taught in class and through projects along with competitions as opportunities for FFA members to showcase their talents and compete for prizes.

Hoppe joined CP’s FFA in the ninth grade because of a national organization called 4-H. 4-H, according to their website, is a “global network of youth” with the aim to help them reach their full potential.

“I was introduced to this event in ninth grade and was fortunate to have success with it, so I have continued to build to be perfect at the contest,” Hoppe said. “I never really picked out this contest individually, more of stumbling across it and having success kept me going.”

 FFA has come to mean a lot to Hoppe over the last four years, keeping him grounded and becoming a major part of his life.

“FFA has been the majority of my extra-curricular involvement while in high school,” Hoppe said. “It has kept me motivated to succeed and strive to be the best leader possible.”

With FFA being a major part of Hoppe’s life, he talks about who has been a major influence in his FFA career.

“Without a doubt [the biggest influence in my life is] my agriculture science teacher, Mr. Jack Winterrowd,” Hoppe said. “He has exposed me to opportunities I had no idea existed and without his help I would not be where I am today.”

Since his first year in ninth grade, Hoppe has come a long way winning many competitions including: San Antonio Skillathon, Houston Speaking Contest and Texas FFA Speaking Contest. He has also won divisions at the State, District and Area level which he states are the biggest competitions this year.

Each of these competitions had cash prizes such as: San Antonio with a $10,000 scholarship, Houston with a $2,500 cash prize, Texas FFA with a $1,000 scholarship and State Fair of Texas with a $5,000 scholarship.

All this money isn’t just going to nothing, Hoppe has very simple plans for everything that he has won.

“All the scholarships will go toward college,” Hoppe said. “I plan to attend Texas A&M and major in Agriculture Economics. The cash money is reinvested into my other supervised agriculture experiences such as livestock projects.”

One of the first competitions that Hoppe frequented this year was the State Fair of Texas competition.

“The 2015 State Fair of Texas contest was the first time I had ever been to that event,” Hoppe said. “There were 182 competitors and the level of competition was impressive. The biggest difference in the SFOT contest is that the finals are held in a public venue. The top two speakers get up on a stage and deliver their speech in front of an exhibition hall and the noise and distractions are prevalent. You have to be extremely concentrated and poised on stage.”

Hoppe also competed in the Texas FFA Prepared Speaking contest. This is a state wide event in which competitors must write and deliver a six to eight minute speech, according to Hoppe. The speech must cover important agricultural issues that people face in today’s world.

“I was nervous before giving the speech,” Hoppe said. “There is so much time and effort that goes into these speeches that you want everything to go right and that can be very stressful.”

However, Hoppe had no reason to be nervous because at the end of the day, Hoppe was named the winner of the entire event earning a $5,000 scholarship.

“I was extremely happy [when I found out that I won],” Hoppe said. “It is such a competitive event and to win in the largest FFA centered state in the nation was an amazing experience.”

Though, a $5,000 scholarship isn’t the only thing that Hoppe won that day. He also won a place in the National FFA contest held in Louisville, Kentucky. According to Hoppe, the event is massive including 64,000 of the best contestants from around the country.

Hoppe spent most of his time rehearsing the speech and practicing for the judge’s questions and was the most prepared that he had ever been for a competition according to Winterrowod. However, Hoppe did not make it past preliminaries and there is nothing he would change about it.

“[I would change] nothing,” Hoppe said. “I did the absolute best job I could and the chips fall where they may.”

Even though Hoppe may have lost, he still enjoyed the competition and the support FFA supplies.

“I really enjoyed seeing all my friends from previous speech contests,” Hoppe said. “The FFA is like a big family and we are all there to have fun and enjoy the event, until the competition starts of course.”

However, competitions don’t stop there for Hoppe, who continues to compete in: Fall LDEs [Leadership Development Events which is a public speaking competition], Sr. Creed Speaking, Job Interview, San Angelo contest in February, Houston contest again in March, and in the spring he will try his hand at the soil and water conservation speaking contest.

After that, Hoppe will continue his journey to college. As his last year in high school concludes, Hoppe shares with us what FFA has taught him and the biggest take away FFA has to offer.

“FFA has taught me to remain steadfast in my efforts,” Hoppe said. “So many times things go wrong in life and sticking to the plan and trying harder the second time is essential to success.  The people I have had the privilege to meet and the relationships I have established will be worth their weight in gold when pursuing my career outside of high school.”

With all of what Hoppe has learned over his years, he shares his advice to those hoping to succeed in FFA.

“Be determined,” Hoppe said. “Agriculture is a very challenging area of society and persistence is key to success.”