Before the opening gavel is ever tapped at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Claire Baney will know if she is moving on to the final round of competition in hopes of becoming a National FFA officer. Six young people will be named National FFA officers before the convention adjourns on Oct. 27.
Baney, Fishers, Ind., was part of the Hamilton Southeastern FFA and served as Indiana FFA state president in 2017-18. She handed the gavel over to Sami DeLey, the current Indiana FFA state president, in June at the state convention held at Purdue University in West Lafayette. Just a few short weeks later, a small committee of people selected Baney to represent Indiana as its national officer candidate in 2018.
Baney, a Purdue freshman, has spent time ever since preparing for intense interview rounds at the national convention, besides beginning life as a college student.
She sought help from various people as she prepared, and even traveled to Texas where a professor offers training for anyone running for a National FFA office who wants to participate. Baney reports that well over half of this year’s candidates took part in that training exercise.
Interviews for a National FFA office include one-on-one interviews with nine different committee members, plus opportunities to prepare and deliver a speech, two essays written on-site, and interview rounds with professionals in agriculture and media so candidates can show how they would handle various situations that could arise as they served the National FFA Organization and its members.
After several interviews, the field is cut in half. The top 50% of candidates are announced before the National FFA Convention begins. Interviews continue until the final six officers are selected.
The best-scoring candidate in each of four regions is selected, plus the next best two across all regions. National FFA officers are announced during the final session in dramatic fashion. Here’s hoping Baney’s name is called on that final day!