Never a dull moment for state FFA officer

Staff writer

The past year has been a busy one for 2013 Centre graduate Carrie Carlson.

After serving as president of the Centre FFA chapter, she was selected as the state FFA vice president at the state convention last May. Her one-year term will end May 31 when a new officer will be installed in her place.

Carlson was the speaker May 13 at the annual Centre FFA banquet. Her first month as a state officer was spent in training. Her first chance at state leadership came when she and other officers spent a week preparing for the three-day conference for chapter leaders. They designed workshops, prepared skits, and planned activities.

In July, she attended the state presidents’ conference in Washington, D.C. She studied FFA policies and proposals and met the secretary of agriculture, the secretary of education, and several other high government officials. Carlson then helped organize a two-day district officers’ conference and greenhand conferences.

Some of her most enjoyable times throughout the year were attending chapter events such as softball games, chapter anniversary celebrations, and leadership workshops.

“The main purpose as we travel to banquets and other FFA events is to build relationships with FFA members,” she said.

At the national convention in October in Nashville, Carlson had a role as a discussion group leader and was involved in the delegate process.

National FFA Week in February was another highlight. The national FFA president visited the state. He and the state officers were introduced on the senate floor. They attended a reception with Gov. Sam Brownback, who is a past state and national FFA officer.

During spring break, she traveled to South Africa to attend an international leadership seminar for state officers. Of the 70 officers who made the trip, four were from Kansas. While there, they learned about the people and area agriculture.

“It made me realize how blessed we are in America, but it also made me want to learn more about the world,” she said.

Carlson’s final activity as a state officer is occurring this week as she and the other officers prepare for the state convention in Manhattan. They are in charge of six sessions that will recognize the achievements of FFA members.

She is excited that three Centre FFA members — Makenzie Deines, Kevin Lewis, and Karl Riffel — are running for state office. She will chair the afternoon session on May 30, the final day of the conference, and will give a retiring address.

Carlson just completed her freshman year at Kansas State University. She said juggling schoolwork and FFA duties was a balancing act.

“FFA is where my heart is, so I missed some classes,” she said. “I worked hard to do well in both things. I had some late nights, but I didn’t mind.”

She is majoring in bakery science. She will serve an internship this summer in Plano, Texas, where she will work with dough development in the Pizza Hut division of Yum! Brands.

“Being a state officer was an experience of a lifetime,” Carlson said. “The year has gone by so fast, and I feel sad. Although this chapter of my life is closing, I know I can take what I’ve learned and try new things. FFA will always be a part of my life.”

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