Newly elected state FFA officers include 2 recent graduates from Southern Utah

Composite image. Inset left photo of Jackson Bandley, a 2019 graduate of Dixie High. Right photo of Kaylee Hopkins, a 2019 graduate of Canyon View High. Photo dates and locations not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

ST. GEORGE — The Utah FFA Association, which encompasses 89 Future Farmers of America chapters in secondary schools throughout the state, recently announced its statewide officers for 2019-20.

The newly elected state officers of the Utah FFA Association for 2019-20. Back row, L-R: Sabrina Hayes, Jaden Roberts and Jackson Bandley. Front row, L-R: Myka Wayment, Gracie Wilkinson and Kaylee Hopkins. Date and location of photo not specified. | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

Two of the newly elected officers, including the state president, are from Southern Utah. Kaylee Hopkins of Canyon View High is the new state FFA president and Jackson Bandley of Dixie High is the new state treasurer. Both are seniors who graduated from their respective high schools this week.

Joining Hopkins and Bandley as state officers will be Myka Wayment of Roy as vice president, Sabrina Hayes of Sky View as secretary, Gracie Wilkinson of Wasatch as reporter and Jaden Roberts of Weber as sentinel. All four are also graduating high school seniors.

Together, the newly elected six-member state officer team will oversee the FFA’s various programs throughout the state, including making visits to chapter schools, organizing conferences and competition events and promoting agricultural education.

St. George News News recently caught up with both Hopkins and Bandley to ask them about their new responsibilities and their future plans, both personally and for the organization. State reporter Wilkinson assisted with the gathering of information and photographs.

Kaylee Hopkins, state FFA president

Kaylee Hopkins, the newly elected state FFA president, graduated from Canyon View High in Cedar City on Wednesday.

Hopkins, who plans to study animal science at Southern Utah University, has deferred her SUU scholarship for a year in order to dedicate her time to the Utah FFA Association.

Kaylee Hopkins, a 2019 graduate of Canyon View High, is the newly elected president of the Utah FFA Association for 2019-20. Photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

“I got started in FFA because my sisters were in it, and I realized what an amazing organization it was,” Hopkins said. “My sister Nicole Hopkins encouraged me to compete in the Creed Speaking contest like she did, so before my freshman year I already had all five paragraphs memorized.”

Those who compete in the event recite from memory the organization’s creed, which begins, “I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds.”

“I was so nervous to try something new, but also excited. I wasn’t a fan of talking in front of people until after I competed in Creed Speaking,” Hopkins said. “After that first competition, I learned a lot about what FFA did for not only me, but for others.”

Hopkins said that FFA has already had “a huge impact” on her life.

“I’ve gotten the opportunity to travel and make many new friendships,” she said.

Hopkins said she loves working with animals. She works at a local veterinary clinic and has also raised a lamb for the Southwest Livestock Show each of the past two years.

As state FFA president, Hopkins says she hopes to promote the importance of agriculture education in schools.

Kaylee Hopkins, a 2019 graduate of Canyon View High, is the newly elected president of the Utah FFA Association for 2019-20. Photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

“Recently my chapter, the Canyon View FFA, helped out at a farm field day,” she said. “We got to teach the elementary school kids all about agriculture, such as where their food comes from, how important bees are and how everything revolves around agriculture.”

“Agriculture education is extremely important in public schools, and it’s sad to say that not every school has an agriculture program,” Hopkins added. “Agriculture affects everybody’s life greatly and is needed to survive. As state officers, we promote agriculture on a daily basis.”

Hopkins said one of her main goals as a state officer is to “empower others, and help them become the leaders they were meant to be.”

There are currently about 7,000 student members statewide in the Utah FFA Association, a number Hopkins says she would like to see grow.

“I also want to help increase the number of members we have in FFA and show people the amazing opportunities it has to offer,” she said. “I plan to do so by leaving an impact on the students we meet with during our chapter visits which will start during the upcoming school year.”

Jackson Bandley, state FFA treasurer

Jackson Bandley, a 2019 graduate of Dixie High, is the newly elected treasurer of the Utah FFA Association for 2019-20. Photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

Jackson Bandley, the newly elected FFA state treasurer for 2019-20, graduated from Dixie High School on Thursday.

He plans to attend Utah State University, where he hopes to enroll in the Ag Education program and major in drone aviation.

Bandley said he got started in FFA because of his older sister’s involvement.

“I saw what it did for her, so I started my ninth-grade year,” he said. “At first I was focused on plants and flowers, but over the last few years I have focused on the leadership side and getting those students involved who don’t have an ag background.”

“Anyone can be involved,” he said. “I have seen cheerleaders, dancers, mechanics, mathematicians and adults involved in the FFA, whether it is through the high school level or the alumni level.”

Jackson Bandley, a 2019 graduate of Dixie High, is the newly elected treasurer of the Utah FFA Association for 2019-20. Photo date and location not specified | Photo courtesy of Utah FFA Association, St. George News / Cedar City News

As a state officer, Bandley says he also plans to dedicate himself to the ongoing effort to promote agricultural education.

“I really would like to spread the need for agriculture throughout the state,” he said. “I believe that agricultural education in schools should be a core class. Agriculture is the base of any civilization and many farmers and ranchers don’t have heirs to run their farms and ranches.”

Bandley says the state officers plan to visit every one of Utah’s FFA chapters during the upcoming school year.

The FFA state officers also make frequent visits to elementary and middle schools, in order to teach the younger students “the importance of the FFA and agriculture in our everyday life,” Bandley added.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

 

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