TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Running on empty at the close of the annual Idaho State Leadership Conference, newly elected state officers were nonetheless thrilled with their new roles and excited for the year ahead.
“I’m honestly in shock. I don’t believe I’m worthy of this almost,” President Saydee Longhurst said.
A senior at Shelly High School, Longhurst has served as FFA chapter and district president. She plans to attend Utah State University to major in agribusiness and hopes to one day take over her parents’ first-generation family farm.
Her goal in the coming year is to visit all the FFA chapters in the state to “support the wonderful members FFA has to offer,” she said.
She also hopes to grow personally, saying she’s already grown so much through the state candidate process.
Vice President Harrison Jansen van Beek said he’s a little worn out, but overall excited and “super happy.”
“I couldn’t ask for anything better. It’s going to be an amazing year,” he said.
A senior at Middleton High School, he has served as chapter president and district vice president. He plans to attend the University of Idaho in agribusiness and plans to either teach or enter the financial industry to promote and protect agriculture.
His goal in the year ahead is to speak to FFA members who might not necessarily know where their place is in agriculture and help them figure out what FFA can provide, he said.
“I hope to meet as many members as possible and enjoy every moment of this experience that has been provided to me,” he said.
Secretary Allyson King said she’s “excited, overwhelmed and really looking forward” to the year ahead.
The new officer team is already united, and she hopes to gain experience and spur members’ passion for agriculture and FFA and carry on the good name of Idaho FFA, she said.
She is a senior at Filer High School and has served as chapter and district president.
She plans to pursue agribusiness management, starting at the College of Southern Idaho and moving on to a larger college. She hopes to eventually own a local business related to agriculture, such as a floral or ice cream shop.
Treasurer Melanie Searle said being elected to state office is “just unreal.”
“I’ve wanted this since I joined FFA,” she said.
A senior at Burley High School, she has served as chapter and district president.
She’s already grown close to the other officers through the candidate process and is excited to serve with the team, she said.
“I hope to reach out to the members of all different backgrounds and help them find their place in FFA, as well as grow personally and be a positive voice for FFA,” she said.
Reporter Savannah Stroebel said she feels blessed and excited to serve Idaho FFA.
“It’s like a dream come true, and I’m super excited to get started,” she said.
She is a senior at Kuna High School and has served as chapter and district president. She plans to attend the University of Idaho to major agriculture education in pursuit of being an agriculture teacher and FFA advisor.
In the year ahead, she hopes to improve her leadership skills and learn from the experiences of FFA members around the state, she said.
“I hope to get more members excited about FFA and let them know they can wear the blue jacket even if they’re not from a farm background,” she said.
Sentinel Caleb Johnston said the candidate process has been a roller coaster of emotions and being elected a state officer is a surreal experience.
“My heart’s full. I’m ready to go serve,” he said.
He served as chapter president as a senior at New Plymouth High School and is now a freshman at Boise State University. He is majoring in chemistry and biology with an eye on working in the agricultural chemicals or animal genetics industries.
He said he’ll probably lighten his college course load in the coming year and focus on helping FFA members grow in an atmosphere of it being OK to be themselves, genuine and transparent with others.