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Slater student named state FFA secretary

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Lauren Weiker
(Contributed photo)
After a long day on Thursday, April 16, interviewing for a state FFA office and judging livestock, Lauren Weiker of Slater still found the energy to jump up when she found out she had been named the 2009-2010 Missouri state FFA secretary.

"I had to be the first to interview, because I had to go to my CDE (career development event) judging livestock," she said. Because her name started with a W, she was the last person to give "reasons" during that contest, so it lasted more than five hours. Weiker and the rest of her livestock team were in Columbia at the Missouri State FFA convention.

"I finally got done and (Slater FFA advisor) Mr. (Zach) Crews came to pick us up and he said 'Congratulations to the secretary' and I just jumped up," she said. "It's just a great opportunity I never expected."

Weiker, the daughter of Jason and Bethany Weiker, found out March 5 she would be one of 16 new state officers. They were interviewed again at the state convention to find out which ones would be chosen as the new state president, secretary and first vice-president.

The interviews were in two parts, one a personality interview and the second a group interview with three other state officers.

"I didn't go in there thinking I would get a higher office. I just was going to go in there and do my best," she said, describing the interviews. The other 13 officers will serve as vice-presidents, representing their respective areas.

Weiker already knew she would be very busy with her officer duties for the next year. However, as state secretary, she now has the opportunity to go to a national FFA conference in Washington, D.C., with the other state FFA presidents and secretaries. She said they would have the opportunity to visit the White House and possibly meet President Barack Obama.

"I'm pretty excited about that," she said. Last year, as president of the Slater FFA chapter, she went to the Washington, D.C., FFA leadership conference, but this trip will give her opportunities to visit different places.

Her other duties will include attending at least one week of camp in the summer, attending Greenhand conferences and working "with officers within the chapters." She'll also be attending leadership events and will represent Missouri at the National FFA convention next fall.

Weiker will be doing all this while attending her freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where she plans on majoring in hotel and restaurant management. She said if possible, she would like to get a minor in agriculture education, and would eventually like to go into catering.

She first set a goal, four years ago, of being a state officer during her first year at FFA Camp.

"It started out four years ago when I first entered FFA. When I went to FFA camp, I met four state officers that were there and they were helping out everyone and really encouraging them and they remembered everybody's names the whole week," she said. "They remembered my name when I saw them later on in the year and I thought that was really neat. They were really true leaders in the organization itself. I knew right then I wanted to be a state FFA officer and it continued to be a goal."

Weiker might not have been in FFA had she not been required to take an "exploratory" class as an eighth-grader at Slater.

"I am not the farm girl. I came from people who own a funeral home and when I took my exploratory agriculture class in eighth grade I walked in thinking, 'This is not for me,'" she said.

However, after a few days in class, she "fell in love with it," and now stresses to other students that they don't have to come from a farm background to be in FFA.

Her FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience Program consists of working as a Red Cross-certified lifeguard at the Slater pool, running her own catering business and raising and marketing pumpkins. She has helped to cater weddings.

Weiker is the president for the Slater FFA Chapter and has served as the chapter reporter and secretary. She was recently the Area VI president and previously served as the treasurer.

She also has received Area VI proficiency awards in Ag Sales Entrepreneurship and Ag Education. At Slater she was awarded the Star Greenhand award, Star Agribusinessman, state leadership medals and was a participant in the 2007 Missouri Agribusiness Academy. She also received the state FFA degree in Columbia last week.

She is also involved in several other activities as a Slater senior, currently serving as class president and secretary of National Honor Society.

She also plays varsity basketball, is a football cheerleader and is a three-time Show-Me State Powerlifting Champion.

She also is a member of Slater's S club, pep club and has been in A+ for two years. She is also a member of Slater United Methodist Church.

The last Slater FFA member to be a state officer was 10 years ago when Weiker's advisor, Crews served from 1999-2000.

Marshall FFA member Brandon Thiel was one of the retiring 2008-2009 FFA officers at this year's convention. The University of Missouri-Columbia freshman just finished a year serving as vice-president from Area VI.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at marshallag@socket.net

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Way to go Lauren!!! You deserve the best--have fun!!

-- Posted by jdjmom on Tue, Apr 21, 2009, at 1:27 PM

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