White River High honored at state FFA convention

It was a sweep for White River High at the annual FFA state convention May 13-18 at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. White River FFA adviser Amy Miller was named the District 2 Outstanding Agriculture Teacher of the Year and White River High Principal Mike Hagadone was chosen Outstanding Administrator of the Year. The WRHS FFA chapter received the Outstanding Agricultural Program of the Year award and chapter member Victoria Marsh landed a coveted spot as a state officer for the 2009-10 school year.

In addition, the chapter racked up a pile of team and individual honors.

The school's Issues Team, with its biosolids presentation, placed third. White River's Sales Team and Rituals Team both took seventh. The chapter also placed seventh and ninth in the Best Informed Greenhorn competition.

In individual competition, Marsh finished second in Extemporaneous Speaking and fellow Hornet Mike Burley was third.

Marsh was third in Job Interview, while teammate Amanda Alvord was fourth and Kelsey Smith was sixth.

Sami Nourse was 10th as an individual in Sales.

But the biggest honor of the convention went to Marsh, who landed the position of state secretary.

According to WRHS teacher Todd Miller, the last time White River had a state officer was in the 1980s.

Marsh was one of six chosen to oversee more than 8,000 FFA members in 231 chapters across the state. Her duties will take her across the state and the nation.

Although Marsh has always wanted to be elected to a state office, the decision to run was not easy.

State officer duties and travel are so demanding, like a full-time job, Miller said, Marsh will have to take one year off.

Also at stake were a number of scholarships Marsh has earned, including a Washington Award for Vocational Excellence (WAVE), which provides college tuition. With some research, the senior learned she could defer her scholarships and her entry to WSU.

In the end, she said, it was the many people she's met through the program and the impact they've had on her life that made up her mind, and the thought that as a state officer she can give back to the program.

"If I can use my life for one year to influence them (others in FFA), there's no reason why I shouldn't do it," Marsh said. "I've wanted this for about four years."

As part of the election process, Marsh turned in a 12-page application and also had to earn her state degree, which involves putting time and money into the agricultural education program through leadership and projects.

She was among 22 students from across the state to run for the six positions. At the convention, through a written exam and interview process, those 22 were whittled down to 10 who gave a three-minute speech before the 3,000 delegates who voted on the officers.

"It's a pretty extensive process," Marsh said.

Hagadone and Amy Miller are now in the running to represent the state at the national convention.

On another note, the FFA's annual spaghetti feed fundraiser and auction raised approximately $7,000 for the program, and its end-of-the-year banquet was scheduled for Thursday.

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