Posted: Thursday, April 26, 2012 10:00 AM
Cecilia Parsons/Capital Press
Jason Mendes of Modesto, Calif., a candidate for the state FFA office of treasurer, greets voters during the annual state FFA Leadership Conference in Fresno.
Candidates gave inspirational, unique speeches to sway voting delegates
By CECILIA PARSONS
For the Capital Press
FRESNO, Calif. -- They had "passion in their jackets," determination and long lists of accomplishments, but the one they wanted most to add to their resume was "state officer."
During the Monday morning general session of the 84th annual California State FFA Leadership Conference, the 12 officer candidates had two minutes to convince delegates to cast votes in their favor.
Their speeches were inspiring, passionate and -- at times -- funny. At the end of their speeches, they often had FFA members standing and cheering. The prize for the six election winners is spending a year traveling to all parts of the state to encourage leadership in FFA chapters, along with priceless friendships and experiences.
Each presented their case in a unique style.
Tyler Menane of Nipomo, running for the state FFA reporter position, told students that they should have "passion in their jackets" for leadership.
Hannah Garrett of Galt -- the eventual winner of the state presidency -- advised FFA members to turn those awkward moments in their lives into something unforgettable.
Jason Mendes of Modesto promised to "spice up" the organization.
Following the speeches, FFA chapter delegates lined up in the convention hall to meet with the candidates who were handing out flyers and to cast their votes.
Delegates Kaylee Morris, 18, and Shannon Cobbett, 16, both Rosamond High School FFA chapter members, said they were most impressed with the speaking skills of the candidates and their ability to display their personalities in such a short time.
"This shows how much of an impact FFA has on students, how it encourages them to step up and say what they believe in," Morris said.
"They put so much of themselves into it," Cobbett said.
More than 4,000 students attended the four-day conference. In addition to electing new officers, delegates from chapters throughout the state debated and voted on state and national proposals, attended a career fair and heard motivational speakers.
The conference also highlighted student accomplishments in public speaking and production practices with proficiency awards, scholarships and special recognition.
New state officers
President: Hannah Garrett, Galt
Vice President: Leah Gibson, Paso Robles
Secretary: Kelcie Jones, Bakersfield-Frontier
Treasurer: Jason Mendes, Modesto
Reporter: Tyler Menane, Nipomo
Sentinel: Kyle Rohrmann, Fresno-Central
Star in Ag Placement: Kyle Brem, Strathmore
Star in Agriscience: Jake Carlson, Elk Grove
Star in Agribusiness: Michael Valencia, Madera
Star Farmer: Victoria Pereira, Tulare
Star Advisor: Julie Beechinor, Frontier-Bakersfield
Star Administrator: Mark Richardson, Taft
Star Counselor: Wey Wyrick, Lemoore
Star Reporter: Kaitlin Wanner, East Nicholas
Ag Communications: Brooke Aguirre, Fillmore
Ag Education: Brad Borges, Hughson
Ag Mechanics Energy Systems: Michael Buchmiller, Carpinteria
Ag Mechanics Repair Entrepreneurship: Christopher Barlow, La Habra-Sonora
Ag Mechanic Repair Placement: Francisco Manriquez, Wasco
Agricultural Processing: Garrett Howser, Modesto
Ag Sales Entrepreneurship: Rhianna Jones, Fresno-Central
Ag Sales Placement: Cody Dye, Templeton
Agricultural Services: Shelbi Enos, Hanford
Agriscience Research: Madison Albiani, Elk Grove
Agriscience Research: Jillian Drake, Fallbrook
Agriscience Research: Jake Carlson, Elk Grove
Beef Production Entrepreneurship: Regina Pozzi, Petaluma
Beef Production Placement: Hannah Bianchi, Hollister
Dairy Production Entrepreneurship: Vincent Migliazzo, Atwater-Buchach
Dairy Production Placement: Jacob Macedo, Tulare
Diversified Crop Production Entrepreneurship: Billy Yecny, Laton
Diversified Crop Production Placement: Richard Cardoza, Tulare
Diversified Horticultural Entrepreneurship: Ryan Howard, Santa Ynez
Diversified Horticultural Placement: Kyle Keane, Chico
Diversified Livestock Entrepreneurship: Macy Perry, Clovis East
Diversified Livestock Placement: Beth Boss, Menifee Heritage
Emerging Agricultural Technology: Robert DeValentine, Nicholas
Environmental Sciences: Drake Fusaro, Colusa
Equine Science Entrepreneurship: Ali Einolander, Templeton
Equine Science Placement: Else Stuart, Santa Rosa
Fiber/Oil Crops: Kiana Peters, Chowchilla
Forage Production: Elizabeth Gingles, Hanford
Forest Management: Joey Adams, Arroyo Grande
Goat Production: Rebecca Hobby, Hughson
Grain Production Entrepreneurship: Jason Allen, Firebaugh
Grain Production Placement: John Borba, Tulare
Home or Community Development: Samantha Mackle, Templeton
Landscape Management: Jordan Robinson, Lemoore
Nursery Operations: Ben Jacques, Fallbrook
Outdoor Recreation: Nicole Hardoy, King City
Pomology Production: Andrew Tremper, Arroyo Grande
Poultry Production: Russell Zimmerman, Hanford
Sheep Production: Skottlyn Snyder, Firebaugh
Small Animal Production and Care: Courtney Miller, Lodi
Specialty Animal Production: Courtney Miller, Lodi
Specialty Crop Production: Fernanda Ortiz, Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley
Swine Production Entrepreneurship: Brandan Rogers, Lakeside-El Capitan
Swine Production Placement: Isaac Lewis, Tulare
Turf Grass Management: Jose Perez, Lemoore
Vegetable Production: Tyler Dickinson, Santa Maria Pioneer Valley
Vegetable Production Placement: Xia Vue, Fresno Central
Veterinary Medicine: Kelly Mitchell, Tulare
Viticulture Production: Yesinia Huerta, Lodi
Wildlife Management: Miles Mankins, Nipomo