Newly elected Illinois State FFA officers are, left to right, Shaylee Clinton, reporter; Eliza Petry, vice president; Sophia Hortin, president; Miriam Hoffman, secretary; and Taylor Hartke, treasurer. (Photo contributed)
SPRINGFIELD – The 2018-2019 Illinois State FFA Officer Team will include 2018 Earlville High School graduate Miriam Hoffman. She and four other state officers were elected at the 90th annual Illinois State FFA Convention on June 14.
This year marks the first time in the Illinois Association FFA’s 90-year history that all major state officers are women. The officers were installed following the election and will serve the Illinois Association FFA for the next 12 months.
The newly elected officers include:
President: SOPHIA HORTIN is the seventh female Illinois FFA President in the Association’s history. Hortin, 18, of Fisher (Champaign County) and the Fisher FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of Mark and Shanna Hortin and a 2018 graduate of Fisher High School. “Being a state officer is about building a better future for the organization and its members,” Hortin says. “It’s about building relationships, leaders for agriculture, and a culture that fulfills the FFA mission of premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. It is about helping members build their own successes and build their dreams.”
Vice President: ELIZA PETRY, 17, of Rochelle (Ogle County) and the Rochelle FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of Erik and Ellen Petry and a 2018 graduate of Rochelle Township High School. “I want to continue being a leader in the FFA family,” Petry says. “I want to help and encourage members to find their place, develop their potential, and leave their mark on the FFA organization.”
Reporter: SHAYLEE CLINTON, 19, of Ina (Jefferson County) and the Mount Vernon FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of Wayne and Melinda Clinton, a 2017 graduate of Mount Vernon Township High School, and is enrolled at Kaskaskia College in agriculture science education. “As a state officer, I want to inspire students, help them find their potential, and encourage them to never give up,” Clinton says. “It’s been said to me many times that FFA members are unlike any others, and I’d agree. We have purpose and drive. We are mature and poised and ready to change the world.”
Secretary: MIRIAM HOFFMAN, 18, of Earlville (LaSalle County) and the Earlville FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of Winifred and the late Kenneth Hoffman and a 2018 graduate of Earlville High School. “It’s time for me to give back to this organization that has changed my life more than I ever could have imagined,” Hoffman says. “Being a state officer isn’t about the title, the fame, or the glory. It’s about the people you serve, the dreams you inspire, and the lives you change.”
Treasurer: TAYLOR HARTKE, 19, of Teutoplis (Effingham County) and the Teutopolis FFA Chapter. She is the daughter of David and Korrie Hartke, a 2017 graduate of Teutopolis High School, and is enrolled at Lake Land College as an agriculture transfer. “As a state officer,” Hartke says, “I want to utilize my positive attitude to encourage and unite members to achieve our mission of making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education.”
The five officers were elected from a group of 10 candidates selected by a committee in early spring. Each officer puts their collegiate pursuits on hold for one year as they serve the Illinois Association FFA. Officers typically travel more than 20,000 miles visiting FFA chapters around the state, conducting workshops and meetings, representing Illinois FFA in professional settings, and promoting agricultural education. Since 1929, Illinois has elected a State FFA Officer Team.
“These young women are great agriculture advocates,” says Mindy Bunselmeyer, Executive Director of Illinois FFA Center, who in 1990 was the first female president of the Illinois Association FFA. “They, like all FFA members, play a significant role in leading the future of the agriculture industry.”
“Be Bold” was the theme of the three-day event which recognizes achievements of Illinois FFA members, elects the major state officer team, and celebrates agriculture. Students at the convention were greeted with activities including a career fair featuring colleges and agribusinesses, an evening dance and talent show, and an opportunity to engage in the history of Illinois’ capital city.
The convention’s 2018 service project benefitted children through “The Crayon Initiative,” which collects old, used crayons and creates new ones for distribution to art programs at children’s hospitals across the nation. The convention program featured addresses by National FFA Southern Region Vice President Ian Bennett of Georgia and from each of the retiring major state officers. More than 5,000 other FFA members, advisors, and guests attended the event held June 12-14.
About Illinois Association FFA
The Illinois Association FFA is part of the National FFA Organization, formerly known as the Future Farmers of America. More than 18,077 students are enrolled in 333 different FFA chapters in the State of Illinois. FFA is a national youth organization of 653,359 student members with a mission of making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education. Visit www.illinoisffa.org for more information.
About the Illinois Foundation FFA
Illinois Foundation FFA engages individuals, industry, education, government, and foundations in securing funds to support quality agricultural education and FFA programs in Illinois, including providing awards at the State FFA Convention. To learn more and become involved, visit www.illinoisffafoundation.org.