Each year, the FFA selects seven High School graduates from throughout Indiana to serve as its State Officers. These seven officers each delay their college plans by a year to serve the organization that they have grown to love as youth ambassadors. During their year of service, which begins and ends at the annual State Convention, these officers will travel the state presenting seven three-day leadership conferences and speaking to an estimated 8,000 FFA members, supporters and individuals involved in leadership and agriculture. During their year of service, these officers will provide direction and oversee the development of the student-led organization that has over 12,500 members statewide.
15 FFA members from across the state interviewed for the opportunity to serve as an Indiana FFA State Officer in the coming year. From these candidates, seven were selected to hold the offices of State President, State Secretary, State Northern Region Vice President, State Southern Region Vice President, State Treasurer, and State Reporter. The officers will arrive at the Indiana FFA facility in Trafalgar, Indiana, just South of Indianapolis this week. They will live at the facility and undergo training to prepare them for the sorts of situations that they will encounter during their terms as State FFA Officers.
On June 16th, at the Indiana State FFA Convention, these seven young people found out who had been named 2022-2023 Indiana State FFA Officers. Recent Monroe Central Graduate, Gracie Lee was named Indiana State FFA Reporter for the coming year. In 2020-2021 that office was held by another Randolph County student, Union City’s Derick Williams. Lee is the daughter of Todd and Michelle Lee and granddaughter of Lloyd and Rose Ertle. She is the Third FFA State Officer from the Monroe Central FFA Chapter following in the footsteps of Henry Bransccum in 1966-67 and Richard Alderfer in 1974-1975. Allen Ullom from Randolph Central also served as an Indiana State FFA Officer from 1967-1968. It is possible that there were some in the days before the schools were consolidated as well, but the records are harder to find.
“Derick Williams was at the convention this year. When I asked him for advice in going through the interview process, he told me that his experience was very different as most of the process that was done in person this year was done virtually due to Covid-19 when he was a candidate,” said Lee. “I would like to thank my FFA advisors Mr. Jim Weiler and Mrs. Christy Thornburg, as well as the Monroe Central FFA members for all of the support they have given me,” she continued. “Over the years they have pushed me towards more of a leadership role, and helped to make me a better person,” said Lee of her advisors.
Over her six years as a member of FFA, Lee has held numerous leadership positions at the Chapter, District, and State levels. Through these leadership roles she has become a mentor to younger FFA members as well as talking to younger students about what FFA has to offer. “You don’t have to live on a farm to be a member of FFA,” says Lee. Lee is also a 10-year member of 4-H, where she has been involved with a wide variety of programs. She is also a member of the National Honor Society and helps out with community events such as the Winchester Farmers Market.
Following her year as FFA State Reporter, Lee plans to attend Purdue University where she will Major in Agricultural Education with the hope of becoming an agriculture teacher and FFA Advisor. “I’d like to return to one of the schools in Randolph County, if possible, or perhaps one of the surrounding counties, ” said Lee. “I’ve joked with Mr. Weiler that if he were to retire, I could be his replacement,” she laughed. “He said they could also just add another agriculture teacher as well.”
Lee is excited about the opportunity ahead of her. As are the other students that have been named Indiana State FFA Officers for the year; President: Seth Ariens of North Putnam; Northern Region Vice President: Mary Jones of Adams Central; Southern Region Vice President: Jenna Kelsay of Whiteland; Secretary: Tobias Sturgell of Indian Creek; Treasurer: Anthony Taylor of Warsaw; and Sentinel: Jaden Maze of Western Boone. These young people are some of the best that Indiana has to offer. Many will go on to become leaders in their communities. “FFA provides many new horizons for all members, especially the state officer candidates,” said Tami Ketchen, Indiana FFA Association director. “The passion and drive these students have for agriculture is beyond compare. I am excited to see where FFA leads them.” Indeed, for Lee and her colleagues, the future looks bright.
Monroe Central’s Gracie Lee Named Indiana FFA State Reporter for 2022-2023