My name is Kevin Kephart. I come from the small rural town of Holden, MO. I grew up there my entire life; it’s was all I knew. I played football, wrestled, and was an active member in my high school FFA chapter. I feel that these three programs have had a huge role in making me the man I am today.
Football was a huge building block in my life. Through my experiences in football I have learned how to work with others. This truly was a team sport and Coach Johnson made sure we knew how to work as a unit; making it to the Class 3 playoffs, 3 of my 4 years. This experience also lead to me having a greater knowledge of what it means to lead at a young age. Because when you come into a rural high school as a 5’11″ 230 pound kid, you find your self on the varsity playing field and fast. I started all four years of my high school career; and was a team captain for two of them. This sport had a great deal in molding me into what I am today.
Wrestling was another sport that has taught me many lessons and has catapulted me forward in my life. Like I said, coming into my rural high school at 230 pounds was not normal. In wrestling this made me the varsity heavyweight starting out. This was a challenge because I was soft mentally and physically compared to the junior and senior heavyweights that I would wrestle. I was not accustom to losing at anything in my life yet. I never did get accustom to it either. Will Smith once said “You have to hate losing more than you love winning.” I believe this is true because I found a way to be successful. I had to lose the 15 pounds of “baby fat”. So that I could wrestle in the 215 pound weight class. This was a test mentally and physically to me. It was mostly the test of self-determination and will power. But like Will Smith said, I hated losing more than I loved to win. This instilled in me the lesson of self discipline. Freshman year was turning point in my life and helped me realize I needed to do whatever it took to succeed.
Then there are the experiences I gained from my FFA and Agriculture department. These experiences were truly life changing and molded me into the person I am today. My father was my adviser; just like his father was his adviser. He taught me that preparation ‘equals success’. The meaning came to me through experiences such as making a plan to build a grill and carrying it out, and waking up at 4 o’clock in the morning to attend spring contest. I found that all that preparation brought success to myself and my chapter. And this was the true key to shaping me into the man I am.
Then there was the next chapter of my life; college. I had to figure out what I wanted to pursue as a career. There I was trying to make life decisions at the ripe age of 17. I had always had the idea of being a History teacher and coaching. But then the more I thought about, it I began to realize how much agriculture and the FFA has done to mold me. And then my mind was set I would be the 3rd generation Mr. Kephart.