Left to right are the new Washington State FFA officers - Vice President Trevor Schmitt, President Sadie Aronson, Treasurer Kyle Johnson, Reporter Karlee Hansen, Secretary Naddile Widner and Sentinel Zach Schilter. Photo courtesy Washington FFA

Left to right are the new Washington State FFA officers - Vice President Trevor Schmitt, President Sadie Aronson, Treasurer Kyle Johnson, Reporter Karlee Hansen, Secretary Naddile Widner and Sentinel Zach Schilter. Photo courtesy Washington FFA

College can wait: Aronson taking a year to lead 11,000 in state FFA

The White River Hornet will now be traveling around the state for the next year.

To quote her teacher and adviser, Sadie Aronson has blue and gold running through her veins.

Those are the official colors of FFA and the assessment by White River teacher Todd Miller is right on target, now that Aronson has been elected state president of the organization.

It’s a lofty position the 18-year-old has landed, one that will keep her on the road for the next 12 months. As president, Aronson and her fellow state officers will put their young adult lives on hold for the coming year, focusing their time, talents and energy on the FFA mission and the 11,000 members throughout the state.

Aronson was elected president during the recent state FFA convention, held every year in Pullman once college students have left the Washington State University campus. For the soon-to-graduate Hornet, assuming statewide office is the culmination of her FFA dream.

She was the White River chapter secretary as a sophomore, vice president as a junior and is closing out her senior year as the chapter president. All is under the guidance of Miller, the adviser for the White River FFA chapter.

“FFA has been my everything the past four years,” Aronson said, and her conversation is peppered with talk of the organization’s ongoing mission. She speaks of “building a foundation for the generation behind us” and leaving the world “better than when you got here.”

If Aronson is to attain her FFA goals, she’ll do it from the road.

“They tell me I won’t be home much,” she said, referring to the demanding, year-long travel schedule drafted by the state organization. The summer months will be dedicated to training for her new role and visiting fairs throughout the Evergreen State. In July, she will join state presidents from throughout the country for an event in Washington, D.C. And, once school picks up again in the fall, she and her fellow state officers will travel to the four corners of Washington; during a nine-week span, the six officers will strive to meet personally with every chapter in the state.

It’s a busy year of service, Aronson said, noting that state officers are not paid. The organization picks up the tab for expenses, but there’s no salary.

Given the demands of the FFA effort, there are personal plans that are put on hold. In Aronson’s case, her university acceptance has been deferred for 12 months.

Instead of attending college classes during the coming year, she’ll be a leading advocate for CTE (career and technical education) and, in particular, the agriculture industry. She will have the opportunity to share the agricultural gospel in the nation’s capitol and in Olympia, with leaders in government and the private sector. She also will lead the state team of elected officers and preside over meetings and the next state FFA convention.

In many circles, she will be the face of Washington FFA, so the expectations are high. Aside from exhibiting a dedication to FFA and agricultural education, she will adhere to a code of conduct that spells out everything from appropriate language to a dress code. It’s a task not to be taken lightly.

Aronson looks forward to the demands that will accompany her year of service, viewing it as a valuable step toward adult life. She isn’t sure where the career path will lead – maybe teaching, maybe working on policy, she said – “but I definitely want to stay in the industry and be an advocate for ag.”

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