(Posted May 30, 2019)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Southeastern High School’s FFA chapter counts among its ranks a newly elected state FFA officer.
Mozie van Raaij, who just completed her junior year, was elected by her peers from across Ohio as a state vice president at-large for 2019-20. The election took place May 3 at the 91st Ohio FFA Convention in Columbus.
Also at the convention, van Raaij and her fellow Southeastern FFA chapter member, Alyssa Lambert, received their State FFA Degrees. Dakota Lambert, chapter secretary, and Colter Moore, chapter treasurer, earned gold ratings on their officer books. Olivia Workman, chapter reporter, earned a silver rating.
“I am very proud of all of our members for all they have accomplished this year,” said Darrick Riggs, FFA advisor.
Leadership at the state level
“It has been a goal of mine since my freshman year to become an Ohio FFA state officer,” van Raaij said. “I am beyond excited and blessed to have this opportunity and to spend this next year serving this amazing organization and its members.”
As one of 11 state FFA officers, van Raaij’s responsibilities include hosting FFA Camp sessions this summer, attending chapter banquets and events, hosting leadership events statewide, visiting chapters to conduct workshops, attending the National FFA Convention and planning next year’s state convention.
State officers must be at least a junior in high school and 16 years old, active in FFA, and receiving or holding an FFA degree by the time they are elected. The interview process involves a general interview, extemporaneous speech scenario, impromptu scenario, a written exam, a speech about why the candidate wants to be a state officer, and a writing exercise.
“The FFA has shaped me into the person I am today. It has provided me with leadership skills, communication skills and the confidence within myself to overcome my fears and achieve my goals,” van Raaij said.
As a state leader, she said she looks forward to helping other students achieve their leadership goals and giving back to the organization that has been so helpful to her.
“I am very proud of the hard work and passion Mozie has for the FFA. I am excited for her to have this great opportunity to serve and make a difference in the lives of Ohio FFA members,” Riggs said.
The last Southeastern FFA member to hold a state office was Alissa Armstrong who served as state FFA treasurer in 2009-10.
State FFA Degree
Alyssa Lambert, who served as president of Southeastern’s FFA chapter this year and will do so again next year as a senior, received her State FFA Degree at the state convention, as did van Raaij. Less than 4 percent of FFA members in Ohio achieve this award. This year, 935 of the 25,237 FFA members in Ohio earned State Degrees.
Applicants are judged on their participation in eight categories of activities, from contests to leadership. They also must have earned at least $2,500 with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project. For her SAE, Alyssa raises, shows and sells market chickens at the fair and bails hay on her family’s farm.
Alyssa was a part of the first class at Southeastern permitted to join FFA as a middle-schooler. She was an eighth-grader. She went on to serve as chapter secretary as a sophomore before taking on the president’s role this year.
About earning the State FFA Degree, Alyssa said, “It’s not a common thing, so it if you can accomplish it, it’s pretty amazing.”
Alyssa is the third person in her family to earn the state degree. An uncle and her sister, Emily, a 2018 Southeastern graduate, preceded her. Emily also served as the chapter’s president.
Alyssa said she has her eyes on earning the National FFA Degree which, among other qualifications, requires applicants to earn $10,000 with their SAE. In 2018, 4,255 of the 669,989 FFA members in the United States earned their American Degrees; that is less than 1 percent.
Another member of the Lambert family, Dakota Lambert, Alyssa’s cousin, made her mark at the state level, earning a gold rating for her chapter secretary book.
Dakota scored a perfect 250 out of 250 points for her collection of records, notes, agendas and rosters. The most intensive part of her job as secretary, she said, is maintaining an updated list of the chapter’s members and their accomplishments.
Like Alyssa, Dakota joined FFA as an eighth-grader. She went on to serve as sentinel her sophomore year before taking on the secretary’s job this past year. She will serve as secretary again as a senior.
Colter Moore was recognized as a gold-rated treasurer at the state level. He has been an FFA member for three years and will continue to serve as treasurer his senior year.
For his officer book, Moore compiled a record of receipts and disbursements and entered them into a ledger spreadsheet. He composed monthly reports, fundraising summaries, and a list of student financial records and transactions.
Olivia Workman also was recognized at state with a silver rating for her work as chapter reporter. Next year, she will serve as the chapter’s historian.