This post is the last in our series of Nebraska FFA Officers where you get to know the 2014-15 team. This month, let’s meet State President Paige Dexter from the Chambers FFA Chapter.
Since FFA was new to my school, I wanted to try as many activities as possible. I enjoyed competing in Livestock Evaluation, Job Interview, Parliamentary Procedure, Ag Communications, Ag Biotechnology, Meats Evaluation, Farm Business Management, and Veterinary Science. These were all great activities that encouraged me to learn about the many aspects of the agriculture industry and put my knowledge to work through application.
In high school, who did you look up to as a role model and why?
During high school, I looked up to my band instructor, Mr. Duane DeVries. He has always been a man of service, where he would go the extra mile in order to help a student, faculty member, or friend succeed. A bright smile and a friendly hello was his signature greeting. I admired his dedication to his program and its students, and I appreciated his excitement in everything he did. With over 40 years of teaching under his belt, he still held his students to the highest standard and was excited to hear his band perform every single day.
What do you do for fun?
When I get the chance, I love to make use of my creativity and craft making abilities. Whether I have paper, wood, or paint, I enjoy constructing handmade crafts. Music is also a big part of my life. I pull out my guitar and strum a chord or two whenever I get the chance. Since I taught myself a few years ago, I’ve always found it a challenging way to test my patience, yet take a relaxing break from reality.
What were your Supervised Agricultural Experiences (SAE) and how did you become involved in them?
Growing up on my family’s ranch, one of my SAEs was helping raise our cow/calf herd, as well as hay during the summer months. I also worked with my dad in his custom hay equipment business, selling parts and fixing machinery. Lastly, during my senior year, my ag advisor encouraged me to become involved in agricultural education as I paired up with my school’s Kindergarten students, planning and teaching lessons on agriculture, while incorporating technology in the classroom.
Where are you attending college and what are you majoring in?
I am attending the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where I am majoring in Agricultural Education, with a minor in Entrepreneurship.
What activities are you becoming involved with as a college student?
At the University, I am becoming involved in the Ag Ed Club, the Engler Entrepreneurship Program, and Nebraska Human Resource Institute (NHRI). I look forward to being involved in many other service and volunteer activities, spreading the knowledge of agriculture to all ages and interest groups.
What are your future career goals?
With my intended major, my career goal is to become an agricultural educator. I will help others develop as unique individuals, find their personal leadership styles, and encourage them to follow their passions in life through agricultural education and FFA.
What inspired you to run for a state officer position?
During my junior year, I had the opportunity to attend the National FFA Convention. Watching those genuine, down-to-earth National Officers on stage inspired me to take a higher step of leadership within FFA. Later on that year, at the Nebraska FFA State Convention, I decided that running for state office was in my future. I wanted to impact student lives, helping those individuals realize their leadership opportunities and potential.
What has been the best part of your officer year so far?
The overall, best part of my officer year so far has been the opportunity to connect with so many individuals involved in FFA, not only within the state, but throughout the nation. I am intrigued to hear about their varying backgrounds and cultures. These connections allow us to grow as individuals, realize the diversity of our world, and form an even greater organization dedicated to unity and service.
What words of advice do you have for FFA members across the state?
Everything happens for a reason, and absolutely anything is possible. If someone would have asked me one year ago where I saw myself one year down the road, “being a state officer” would have been the last answer to come to mind, even though it was a significant goal of mine. FFA was established two years ago in my school. I knew that I would have to overcome many hurdles in order to run for state office. Fortunately, one year later, after pursuing my dream, I now am honored to serve as the Nebraska FFA State President. I don’t believe that I was lucky, I believe that this was God’s plan all along.
What has been your biggest moment of learning as a state officer?
In July, I was fortunate enough to attend State Presidents’ Conference in Washington, D.C. This week-long leadership conference was a learning moment from the time I left home, until the time I left D.C. From traveling all by myself, to engaging in the most thought-provoking leadership conference, I learned a lot about who I am as a person and as a state officer, as well as how I will help lead Nebraska FFA this year. This week helped me realize that life is all about breaking out of our comfort zone, for that is where we become the most vulnerable and make the greatest changes.