DeJong named new FFA Central Region VP

Jenna Petrak

Jenna PetrakReporter

Wyatt DeJong, a junior agriculture education and animal science major, was named the National FFA Central Region vice president at the 83rd annual National FFA Convention on Oct. 23.

“For the first time in my life I was literally speechless,” DeJong said.

DeJong is one of six national officers who will serve from October 2010 to October 2011.

DeJong said, “Remarkable Journey Written Through Servant Leadership” is this year’s national officer team motto, which includes the first letter of all six officer’s names.

DeJong will take the following two semesters off to fulfill his duties as a national officer. Dejong said the year will be full of traveling, training, visiting 40 states and taking a trip to Japan to visit their national FFA office.

“I will be living out of a suitcase,” DeJong said.

Along with traveling and training, DeJong will visit business and agriculture industry leaders throughout the country and work to better understand how FFA shapes science, research and technology. DeJong is also responsible for being the FFA members’ voice at the national level.

To become a national officer, DeJong first ran at the state level for the SD candidacy position.

“This was a smaller condensed version of running at the national level,” DeJong said

DeJong also wrote an essay on his agricultural experiences, which he focused on beef entrepreneurship and had to submit a letter of interest for the national position.

At the national convention DeJong took a multiple-choice test, complete timed essays about the national FFA program and had to do nine individual interviews, each with different interviewers. DeJong also gave a stand-and-deliver speech, helped facilitate a workshop and completed a round robin interview process.

“It was definitely an overwhelming feeling,” DeJong said.

After half of the candidates were cut, DeJong went through more interviews and waited for the announcement of the six chosen national officers to be made.

When DeJong found out he won the position, he said the experience was surreal and the first thing he thought of was all of the people who helped him win.

“When the announcement was made that I had won, FFA members were screaming,” DeJong said. “I realized dreams come true.”

Chelsey Abler, a former state FFA officer, was present at the convention when DeJong was named the Central Region Vice President. Abler, who met DeJong her junior year of high school, said she was thrilled when DeJong won.

“This is such an awesome opportunity for him. I’m so excited to see the impact he’s going to make in many people’s lives.” Abler said.

DeJong said he is especially thankful to Jessie Vander Poel, who was a former national officer from South Dakota for pushing him in FFA to become more disciplined and selfless. At the state level, DeJong said his state advisor and the state executive secretary helped him in his journey a lot.

DeJong, who attended Winner High School, was active in FFA throughout his four years in high school. He first joined FFA because he was interested in livestock and was especially interested in career development events with beef.

DeJong served as the South Dakota FFA District Four Vice President in 2005-2006. He later served as the South Dakota FFA State Secretary in 2008-2009.

DeJong said his last official day of class this semester will be Nov. 18. From there he will begin training in Indianapolis, Ind. before he begins his year of traveling over 100,000 miles.

#1.1782305:3467771564.png:Wyatt.png:Wyatt DJong, SDSU student, said ?dreams come true? as his dream of becoming a national FFA regional officer comes to fruition. :Submitted Photo