"Plus our chapter is really big -- its one of the biggest extra curricular activities you can be in," she said. "It's one of those things where you see all the upper classmen doing it so you kind of do it too."
After joining, Erika, the daughter of Shane and Catherine Lane, made the most of her experience and in April received the State FFA Degree at the Missouri FFA Convention in Columbia.
For her Supervised Agriculture Experience, she worked at Cedar Lane Greenhouse, located just outside of Blackburn. During the school year, she sometimes worked about 40 hours a week and would work up to 60 hours a week in the summers.
"I worked sunup to sundown," she said. Her duties included "everything from taking care of plants, assisting customers, working in inventory or any work that needed to be done," she said.
The job taught her about the plants themselves, as well as how to deal with and accommodate people.
"Now even to this day up at school I'll have friends that will ask me questions about plants and stuff and I am usually able to help them," she said.
As an FFA member she learned to get involved and "not just stand by yourself."
"I learned that you can basically become a leader if given the opportunity," she said. She also learned "to open yourself up and meet people that have the same interests as you."
Her favorite FFA activities included attending conventions. "It is a lot of fun because you get to meet a lot of different of FFA members," she said.
In her spare time, Erika likes to "work outdoors, whether I'm working out or planting in the garden or anything like that. I just like to be outdoors," she said.
Erika, a 2010 graduate of Santa Fe, served as president of the Santa Fe chapter as a senior and was reporter as a junior. She also won several proficiency awards for her job at Cedar Lane.
She was also active in other school activities including Students against Destructive Decisions (SADD) and Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), among others. She also served as a student council representative.
Erika just finished her freshman year at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph. She is working towards an associate degree to become a physical therapy assistant. "Then from there we'll see if I'll continue on and try to be a physical therapist," she said.