Oklahoma's Vanessa Wiebe Recounts Her Experiences That Led Her to Pursue National FFA OfficeMon, 17 Oct 2016 17:47:32 CDT
For most FFA students, the National FFA Convention will take place later this week, but for those competing for National FFA office like, Vanessa Wiebe of Hooker, Oklahoma - things will kick-off a bit early. Farm Director Ron Hays is covering the convention this week on location in Indianapolis and had the opportunity to speak with Vanessa before things got underway. Vanessa will begin the process, participating in a series of interviews throughout the first half of the week, after which, the number of candidates are narrowed to roughly 20 members. Only six of these 20 will hear their names called this coming Saturday and will spend the next year serving the National FFA Organization and its members.
For Vanessa, her journey with FFA started before she was ever old enough to participate, watching her older siblings go through the program. When it was her turn though, it was love at first sight she says.
“That very first day in 8th grade walking into my ag class I knew I was home,” Vanessa said. “My ag teacher sat down with me and we started mapping out what I wanted to do and from right then my love for agriculture just took off.”
Vanessa became involved in anything and everything she could. Among her goals she and her ag teacher jotted down early on, included some of the typical things most kids strive for: winning their class at a livestock show, excelling in public speaking contests, etc. One aspiration though sticks out from the rest - ‘beating all the guys in her class at welding.’ As if it were more of a To-Do List than a list of goals, Vanessa dutifully checked just about everything off that she had written down by the end of high school, including being elected to state office.
“It had always been a goal of mine since 8th grade,” Vanessa said. “I just saw the impact state officers had had on me and I wanted to be one of those people. They were role models and I wanted to be that for everybody else coming up after me.”
According to Vanessa, hearing her name called, announcing her election to state office was one of the best experiences of her life. The following year, though, Vanessa’s name was not called when the outgoing president announced their incoming replacement. This caused Vanessa hesitation in considering her next move, whether or not FFA would be included in her plans. However, after some encouragement, Vanessa finally made up her mind not to back away, but instead pursue her passion for agriculture and the FFA organization. Ultimately, she entered into the race to represent Oklahoma as the state’s national officer candidate and came out of the selection process triumphantly.
“It just seemed like an awesome opportunity and it’s always something I looked up to, and always thought of doing,” Vanessa said. “They have such an impact and that’s definitely what I wanted to do, so I put my name in.”
In preparation for this week, Vanessa has been working with her coach several hours a week, absorbing as much knowledge as she can about the relationship between FFA and the agriculture industry, and wrapping her head around potentially giving up another year of her life to service, travelling the country, representing FFA members everywhere.
For now, though, Oklahoma holds its collective breath as we wait and see if Vanessa survives the first and only round of cuts, and perhaps she will have a chance to experience her name called again, this Saturday.
We will be taking pictures throughout the 2016 Convention in Indianapolis- and you can go and see them all in our Flickr Album by clicking here.
Our exclusive coverage of the 89th annual National FFA Convention in Indianapolis is a service of ITC, Your Energy Superhighway. Learn more about ITC Great Plains, LLC by clicking here. We also appreciate the support of the Oklahoma FFA Association and the Oklahoma FFA Alumni Association. Click here for more information about one of the top states in the US in the FFA- the Oklahoma FFA Association. Oklahoma FFA impacts the lives of 27,154 members in 359 chapters across the state.
Listen to Ron's full conversation with Oklahoma FFA National Officer Candidate Vanessa Wiebe, as she prepares to compete for her place on the National FFA Officer team, by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
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