West Central FFA members recently attended a reception for National FFA Vice President Wyatt DeJong. For Wyatt DeJong, home is where the heart is; but, his home happens to be a 7,000-acre cattle ranch in South Dakota. From a young age on the ranch his experiences instilled in him a belief in the future of agriculture, transforming him into an advocate for agriculture. For the next year, the Winner High School FFA Chapter member from Winner, S.D., will motivate and inspire more than 500,000 fellow FFA members as the 2010-2011 National FFA Central Region Vice President. He was elected to that office at the 83rd National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Ind. He is among six individuals selected from a field of 36 to hold a national office. He is the son of Miles and Kim, and his FFA advisor is Clay Ewing.
Fulfilling his position will require traveling more than 100,000 miles; meeting top leaders in business, government and education; visiting approximately 40 states; and participating in an international experience tour to Japan. His responsibilities will include providing personal growth and leadership training for students, setting policies that shape the future of the organization and promoting agricultural literacy.
The national FFA officer selection process is intense and represents an assessment of years of academic and extracurricular accomplishments made by each student running for office. Nominees must first qualify on the state level to represent their particular state FFA associations. They then submit a thorough application, detailing their accomplishments and contributions to the community, along with an essay explaining their desire to be elected to national office. Once at the convention, candidates participate in five rounds of interviews, take an in-depth written test on the organization and agricultural education topics and complete two writing exercises.
DeJong attends South Dakota State University in Brookings, S.D., with a major in agricultural education and animal science. “I have come to realize that I can show others they can succeed in a powerful way,” DeJong says about his FFA experiences. “By giving everything that I have, the FFA has shown me how I can let myself shine so that others can unlock themselves to the beauty inside each of them and shine even brighter.” With a personal mission to make an impact, not just an impression, DeJong says he has “a much bigger purpose in life – adding values to others instead of focusing on myself.
Hearty discussion during the reception.
Taking a break for a few refreshments
Wyatt taking a moment to visit with college friends one last time before heading back to Indianapolis for training.
Wyatt spent a few minutes reflecting on his blessings and saying a lot of thank yous to friends, family and mentors.
A few last words of encouragement between two friends and mentors.
Follow some of Wyatt’s adventures during his year of service to the FFA and American Agriculture on his blog.