Strasburg HS Graduate is State FFA President

Ashley Yanego is Virginia's FFA State President
Posted on 06/30/2016
VA FFA State Officers

A Dream Come True

Ashley Yanego, member of the Strasburg High School Class of 2016, has been selected the 2016-2017 Virginia State FFA President.  Ashley has served as the President of both the Signal Knob Middle School and Strasburg High School FFA Chapters. Photo (left to right): Virginia's State FFA Officers -- Sentinel- Keri Knott, Magna Vista: Reporter- Isabell Leonard, Riverheads; Treasurer- Kelly Callender, Turner Ashby; Vice-President- Katherine Alexander, Lord Boutetourt; Vice-President- Sydney Baxter, Dinwiddie; Vice-President- Clay Graham, Buffalo Gap; Secretary- Phillip Saunders, Nelson Senior; President- Ashley Yanego, Strasburg

Ashley described the moments leading to the announcement of her selection via email.  “As the nominating committee report was read,” wrote Ashley, “ the anticipation grew. When there were only two spots left to fill on the eight member officer team, I grew nervous. When the last spot was about to be called—President—I remember looking up and praying. Once my name was called I was full of excitement and ran onto the stage with my new teammates.

I know that each of us had been selected for a reason to serve on the officer team. I understand that I have been elected as the President for a reason. I know that I will be able to passionately serve and bring harmony to my teammates throughout the year. As far as being surprised; I was just shocked that I have been presented with the opportunity to represent Virginia FFA and Agriculture as a State Officer on the 2016-2017 Officer Team; it has been my dream for so long”

Brian Fisher, Agricultural Education teacher and FFA Advisor, was very aware of Ashley’s dream.  “It is exciting to see a student’s dream of state office come true,” he said  “Ashley has wanted to serve as a state officer since she was in middle school, and now she has made that dream a reality.  Ashley has a passion for serving her community, and now she will be able to serve the FFA state association.”

Ashley Yanego
Ashley Yanego is inducted as the new Virginia FFA President by Chandler Vaughn, the 2015-16 President.
Ashley Yanego
Ashley presents state president's address
during the last session of the 2015-16 
FFA conference. 

After her election on Thursday, Ashley and her team “hit the ground running.   We are currently at our first training, BLAST Off (Building Leaders And Strong Teams of Officers),” she wrote.  “This week we are learning about growing ourselves personally and ways we can properly serve and communicate with members, teachers, government officials, administration, etc. As we grow ourselves during this training we will be able to focus on growing with each other during our next few weeks of training so that we will be able to serve others- ‘Me, We, Do, Serve.’

“My teammates and I are very eager to serve the Virginia FFA Association. I do not expect our officer team to be perfect, but I am confident that we will not make the same mistake twice. We are excited to learn from and serve the over 9,000 FFA members across Virginia. I can ensure that each of us will passionately serve. I do not see serving the Virginia FFA Association as a challenge, but instead as an opportunity and experience to guide members to ‘Transform' and grow. Our team looks forward to the opportunity to share the FFA vision of building communities, growing leaders, and strengthening agriculture during our year of service,” concluded Ashley. 

“Becoming a state FFA officer is a rigorous,  really tough process,” said  Mr. Fisher.   "The process begins with an application submitted prior to the state convention.  During the convention, the process continues over three, almost 12-hour days with a written test, some form of  written communication such as an essay or blog, multiple interviews, and  team activities.

This year, Mr. Fisher explained,  there were twenty-one candidates from across the Commonwealth vying for eight  Virginia State FFA offices.  The FFA Nominating Committee, comprised of past state FFA officers, agriculture teachers, and leaders of business/industry,  is  responsible for interviewing and evaluating all of the candidates on eight competency areas: Critical Thinking, Knowledge, Communication, Character, Team Player, Organization, Influence, and Passion for Success.  The Nominating Committee puts the officer candidates through a series of  interviews with different members of the Committee.   Candidates  participate in a mock interview with a stakeholder who might, for example,  be a leader of business or industry; they demonstrate how to interact with government officials; and they develop and present a  workshop.  “Some of these assignments would be difficult challenges  for even FFA advisors,”  added Mr. Fisher.

Based on their evaluation of these events, the Nominating Committee determines the best candidate for each state office. Then,  delegates from FFA Chapters vote whether or not to confirm the nominations.

The Virginia State FFA President has a busy schedule of events, workshops, meetings, and presentations already established before he or she even takes office.  Ashley remains at VA Tech through June 30th participating in an event titled BLAST Off Leadership Training.  In July alone, her calendar includes FFA Camp, the Virginia FFA Foundation Golf Tournament, the State President’s Leadership Conference, and the National Leadership Conference for State Officers.  Throughout the year, from September - May,  Ashley will visit chapters throughout the state offering her expertise, and she will be the guest at many celebratory events.  

Ashley, the daughter of Cindy Mann, is a 2016 Shenandoah Scholar and recipient of the Sallie Whetzel Gochenour Scholarship.   Ashley  was enrolled in AP classes at Strasburg High School and served as the 2015-16 SCA President.  To fulfill her duties as Virginia State FFA president, Ashley has deferred entrance into the VA Tech College of Agriculture for one year.  

“So… .Ashley Yanego….”You’re off to Great Places!

Today is your day!

Your mountain is waiting, So….get on your way!”

Adapted from Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Congratulations, Ashley Yanego President, Virginia FFA! Enjoy Ashley's FFA Experience in Photos

 WithK Pals
Ashley helps kindergarten students make a cow mask during a monthly PALS visit.  
Each 20 minute visit involves a lesson and an activity dealing with agriculture.
 National FFA video
National FFA staff member interviews Ashley about her SAE (Supervised Agricultural
Experience project in agriculture sales and floriculture. Video about her project is
on the national FFA website. 

Community Meal
Ashley helps to prepare sandwiches for a
community meal at Strasburg United Methodist

 Lunch with Mayor Tim Taylor
Ashley and mayor Tim Taylor pose with signed
FFA Week Proclamation.
 Ashley and Congressman
Ashley and other Strasburg FFA members meet to discuss agriculture topics  during
National FFA Week with staff of Congressman Dave Brat.  
 Elementary School visits
Ashley talks to second grade students about natural resources.  First and Second Grade
students visit the high school and move through rotations to learn about natural resources
and the environment. 
 Club meeting
Ashley leads an informal session at September
Ashley talks with Signal Knob FFA members
during their BLAST-Off. SHS members set-up a
scavenger hunt to help SKMS members learn more 
about the FFA.
 Ashley at Washington Leadership Conference
Ashley at Washington Leadership Conference
last summer (2015)