Sebring High student vying for state FFA presidency
SEBRING - Sebring High School senior Megan Stein’s love and interest in agriculture and animals prompted her to join FFA in sixth-grade where she admits she started slowly exhibiting rabbits. “From getting down and dirty with pigs, to spending many hours planting and tending to crops, agriculture is the place for me,” Stein stated in her winning FFA essay from 2011. Stein’s next place in FFA could be as president of the Florida FFA Association. Stein, who is the president of the Sebring High FFA Chapter, gave the School Board of Highlands County an update Tuesday of her recent efforts toward the top state leadership position in FFA.She volunteered herself to go through a “grueling” two-day interview process on March 2 and 3 that involved seven different areas, Stein said. She was one of 37 FFA members from across the state who took part in the screening process that included an individual interview, a written exam, an individual problem solving activity, a supervised agricultural experience interview, an agricultural education interview and conversational exercise. On March 4, the screening committee announced its decision. “I was pleased and blessed to find out that I was a presidential candidate,” Stein said. “My campaign will start on Friday and end on June 14 when I will either be elected president or secretary of the Florida FFA Association.” The other presidential candidate is Wally Martin of the DeSoto High School FFA. Stein thanked the school board for keeping the FFA program strong in the community. “I really hope to be able to talk to many more school boards and keep the program strong throughout Florida,” Stein said. Stein will start her campaigning today at a career development horticultural contest at South Florida State College. Students from a number of counties, including Highlands and Miami-Dade, will compete by demonstrating how to make something out of a fruit, vegetable or nut for the judges. “I will be there competing and campaigning,” Stein said. Agri-science/agri-business resource teacher Gary Lee said since sixth-grade Stein has been focused on her FFA efforts from raising small and large animals to teaching at agricultural summer camps. She is near the top of her class academically at Sebring High, he added. Lee noted that Stein is also the FFA Peace River Federation president and the District XI president (nine counties). Avon Park High Class of 2011 graduate Charlie Brown served as the state FFA president from June 2011 to June 2012. Noting that Highlands County is relatively small compared to counties such Polk, Orange, Hillsborough and Miami-Dade, Lee said, “To have a presidential candidate two out of three years ain't bad.” According to FFA, the primary responsibility of a state officer is to serve the Florida FFA Association, agricultural education and agriculture as an ambassador in local, state and national activities in a way that will inform, motivate and inspire FFA members, advisors and other to embrace and uphold the FFA mission. Highlands County has about 300 middle and high school FFA members, while statewide FFA membership is around 16,000.