Stephenville, Texas - Twenty-three candidates vying for one of six places on the National FFA Organization’s officer team gathered on the campus of Tarleton State University as part of an intensive, two-day workshop aimed at preparing them for the rigors of the national officer selection process.
Hosted by the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and Tarleton’s Collegiate FFA Chapter, students and faculty from the university began welcoming the candidates Thursday evening - some traveling as far away as Alaska and Puerto Rico.
“The opportunity to have our Tarleton students work with these national FFA officer candidates is amazing,” said Dr. David Frazier, assistant professor of agricultural education and consumer sciences. “To see real-world application of the leadership skill development that we try to implement in our classes is a great experience for Tarleton students.”
Frazier, who serves as adviser to Tarleton’s Collegiate FFA Chapter, was once a candidate himself seeking a spot on the national FFA officer team after having served as the New Mexico FFA Association’s state president in 1986. Since then, he has provided advice and direction to other national officer hopefuls, helping to hone their skills ahead of the rigorous interview and selection processes.
Approximately 100 Tarleton students and faculty assisted with facilitating the national FFA officer training workshop, helping to serve as drivers to and from DFW International Airport and critiquing candidates’ speeches and presentations.
The candidates were given an opportunity to fine-tune their interview, presentation and organizational skills, as well as their interpersonal communication techniques. Agriscience students from Stephenville High School also participated in the workshop and served as audience members during a session specifically designed to improve the candidates’ abilities to facilitate group discussion and activities. “We’re putting the candidates through the exact same process they’ll experience at the national selection process,” Frazier explained.
Frazier said he has been working with the National FFA officer candidates for several years, helping the candidates to understand the process and how to execute each of the skills they will be required to perform ahead of the annual National FFA Convention each October. Last year, Frazier helped to train 13 candidates, three of whom were elected to national office.
“This is a great opportunity for the best of the best from across the nation to see Tarleton, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Agricultural and Consumer Sciences Department,” said Frazier. “The chance to work with over half of the national officer candidates is incredible. No other university in the country will be able to say that they have done this.”