Writer: Elisa French
LAS CRUCES - FFA members changed their state constitution, electing a secretary to serve at large with the state president and downsizing from seven to six district vice presidents during the state convention June 1-4 in Las Cruces.
"We are very excited about the constitutional change," said Lane Widner, assistant state supervisor of FFA. "It allows greater representation with a state president and state secretary elected at large. These officers will promote FFA, encourage members and develop strong relationships with business, industry and legislative leaders in the state. The changes will also make stronger FFA districts."
The 2004-2005 officers will lead state activities, present workshops and work with the New Mexico legislature.
They are Ginger Goodan, state president, Des Moines FFA chapter; Levi Downey, state secretary, House chapter; Chris Arrigo, district 1 state vice president, Aztec chapter; Clifton Butt, district 2 state vice president, Clayton chapter; Jamie Gerard, district 3 state vice president, Socorro chapter; Caleb Dodd, district 4 state vice president, Melrose chapter; Ruben Trujillo, district 5 state vice president, Artesia chapter; and Jessica Swapp, district 6 state vice president, Reserve chapter.
Goodan, who served as state FFA vice president in 2003-2004, said she looks forward to meeting more members from across the state and getting to know her state officer team.
"This organization is truly awesome. It has made a huge impact on my life," she said. "It is the people in this organization who have instilled in me the self-confidence, pride, humility, and compassion for the agricultural industry, all of the traits that essentially define who I am."
Goodan has participated in prepared public speaking, wool judging, agricultural mechanics and parliamentary procedure career development events. She will postpone college for a year to fulfill her duties as president, then enroll at NMSU with dual majors in animal science and agricultural business and agricultural economics. She hopes to earn a master's in agricultural education. Her parents are Jon and Cheri Goodan.
Downey looks forward to attending the national convention, where he will meet members from across the nation, attend a career show and receive his American FFA degree. To fulfill his duties, he will take a year off from Butler County Community College in Eldorado, Kan., where he is a sophomore majoring in agricultural business and electrical engineering.
Downey's FFA service projects have included serving meals, picking up trash and painting signs and corrals. He has participated in three national career development contests: meats, poultry and livestock. His parents are Dwain and Susan Downey.
Arrigo said he wants to represent New Mexico FFA because he comes from a nonagricultural background and hopes to encourage others who didn't grow up on a farm or ranch to be in FFA. He is involved in choir, church youth group, soccer, basketball, track and football.
Arrigo's most rewarding FFA experience was being selected for the national FFA chorus. His hobbies include singing, dancing and spending time with family and friends. He has judged in FFA wildlife, forestry and pasture and range contests. After graduation he plans to pursue a degree in range science. His parents are Wayne and Debbie Arrigo
Butt's goals as a state officer include spreading the word about agriculture and inspiring members to maximize their personal potential. He has served as chapter historian and president.
He participates in national honors society, class government and student council at Clayton High School. His service projects include assisting with highway cleanups and the Union County health fair. He enjoys reading, writing and training dogs. After graduation, he plans to major in political science and English at NMSU, then attend law school. His parents are Jimmey Butt and Barbalee Blair.
Gerard competed on a national pasture and range team. Her resume includes service activities such as canned food drives, Christmas gift exchanges and fairgrounds cleanup. She has participated in chapter officer leadership training, the Made for Excellence Conference and Food for America, a mentoring project. She enjoys golf, volleyball, soccer and rodeos. She plans to major in animal science at NMSU in the fall. Her parents are Blake and Sonja Gerard.
Dodd will be the second state officer in the family. His sister, Azori, served as district 4 state vice president and state FFA president. He said his most rewarding FFA experience was attending the Washington leadership conference. He has attended an advanced leadership development conference and chapter officer leadership training.
He has assisted with the adopt a highway project, Kids, Cows and More and farm safety education. He participates in 4-H, football, basketball, track and Business Professionals of America He would like to attend a four-year college on an athletic scholarship and earn a bachelor's degree in agriculture. His parents are Dennis and Dena Dodd.
Trujillo wants to represent New Mexico FFA because he believes it is the premier student organization. He has big shoes to fill because his older brother, Jesus, now an agricultural education teacher at Hagerman High School, was a district 5 state vice president and state president.
Trujillo's favorite FFA experience has been attending the national convention. He has participated in greenhand creed, quiz and public speaking. After graduation, he plans to attend Texas Tech University and major in agricultural engineering or architecture. His parents are Ruben and Pita Trujillo.
Swapp's most memorable FFA experience was winning the talent contest at state convention this year. She has competed in parliamentary procedure and livestock judging contests. Her goals include getting district six members more involved with district-sponsored dances and meetings. She would also like to create a district publication.
Swapp participates in basketball, volleyball, track and cheerleading. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, showing animals and listening to music. She plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University to obtain a recording artist degree. Her parents are Dennis and Patti Swapp.
New Mexico has 6,000 agricultural education students, more than 4,000 of whom belong to FFA. FFA members participate in community service projects, competitions and leadership events that prepare them for more than 300 careers related to agriculture.
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