Piper Merritt Hopes to Hang Her Hat Among the National FFA Officers Who Call Oklahoma HomeFri, 20 Oct 2017 15:41:17 CDT
Past state FFA officer, Piper Merritt of Owasso, Oklahoma, will represent the Oklahoma FFA Association next week at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, as the state's candidate for the National FFA Officer Team. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays sat down with Piper recently to talk about her FFA experience that has led to her ultimate goal of running for national office. You can hear their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
"I've always been so interest in service," Piper said, trying to explain her initial desire to run for national office. "You know, how can we make - not only Oklahoma FFA better, but how can we make FFA better for every student in every single classroom. That was my main reason."
Piper says, the prospect of national office would allow her the opportunity to "roll (her) sleeves up and get some work done," in improving the FFA experience for each and every member.
FFA first caught her eye in the 8th grade, when she was encouraged to participate in public speaking contests by her agricultural education teachers, despite her lack of an agricultural background. She credits her teachers as the motivation for her various achievements in the organization. From there, Piper grew into her FFA career - showing swine as her supervised agricultural experience (SAE), and eventually was elected to state office. This year, she will receive her American Degree at the National Convention. Piper has enjoyed her time serving the members of the Oklahoma FFA so much, she hopes now to have the chance to serve an even larger group of members - as a national officer.
That dream came one step closer to her this past June, when she was selected as Oklahoma's candidate. Since then, Piper has been rigorously preparing for the next phase of the process which she'll undergo during the week of the National Convention.
"The prep for this experience has been unlike anything I've ever gone through before," she said. "It's an entirely holistic approach preparing for the process. You want to focus on FFA and agricultural education, but also the larger issues in the ag industry. A lot of the prep has been about self-reflection - getting to know who I am at the core of my being and also how I can leave an impact on FFA and also how FFA has impacted me."
If her name is called Saturday afternoon of next week, Piper says she understands the commitments required of her - which is basically to devote an entire year of her life to serving the organization. She says that should that come to pass, her goal will be to soak up every experience, and to learn something from every event, every encounter, every interaction.
Piper is currently attending Oklahoma State University. As a sophomore, she is pursuing a degree in agricultural economics with aspirations of one day working on legislative and policy development in Washington, D.C.
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