By Meredith Oglesby, OCJ FFA reporter
Each year, six individuals are chosen to serve the National FFA Organization for the coming year. The process of becoming a national officer is rigorous and the preparation begins months before. Koleson McCoy, of the Global Impact STEM Academy and past State President will represent Ohio as the national officer candidate at the 92nd National FFA Convention and Expo, Oct. 30- Nov. 2.
Reflecting on the memories of his FFA experiences, McCoy is thankful for his decision to attend the STEM academy when it opened in Clark County, which gave him the opportunity to be involved in an agricultural education program.
“Initially, being in the Clark Shawnee District, I was going to attend a high school that did not have an agriculture program,” McCoy said. “However, my freshman year there was a brand-new school that had opened and was focused on bioscience curriculum and applying agriculture to STEM based curriculum.”
Through career development events (CDEs) such as extemporaneous public speaking, job interview and food science and technology as well as serving as a chapter officer and competing in the AgriScience Fair, McCoy fell in love with the opportunities available through the FFA organization.
“As a young member in the FFA you always hear from older members how amazing the organization is, and how it had changed their life for the better,” McCoy said. “It really wasn’t until I had gone to national convention for the first time that I realized what I was a part of. The breadth and depth of the organization was so much more than I had realized in a very positive way.”
McCoy is using what he learned while serving as the 2017-2018 State Secretary and the 2018-2019 State President to guide the preparation process.
“I learned how to intentionally begin to look around me searching for ways to serve other people,” McCoy said. “Often, it is easy to focus upon the progression in our personal and professional lives but learning to seek after what we can to other people is the most fulfilling.”
McCoy went through an interview process to be elected as Ohio’s national officer candidate and has spent the past several months studying and preparing. The preparation process has reinforced my belief in the purpose of our organization, McCoy said.
“What the FFA embodies is the investment into those young student leaders, so everything from the agricultural educator in a classroom to the candidates running for national office I see that purpose shine through,” he said.
If elected to national office, McCoy would serve more than 700,000 FFA members across the United States, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The national officers serve as student representatives for the National FFA Board of Directors, keynote speakers for state conventions while also facilitating workshops and engaging in industry sponsor tours.
“I want to be an authentic advocate for our industry and partners, a driving force of our mission and progression as an organization, and a kind friend to those in and out of the blue jacket,” McCoy said. “That, I truly believe would be my greatest accomplishment as a national officer and it’s what pushes me to pursue leadership at the national level for FFA.”
The FFA has been key in allowing McCoy grow, develop and define who he would like to become.
“My involvement in this organization has led to a strong sense of self-knowledge, leadership self-efficacy, and set me up to pursue a career in the agricultural industry that I have some to have a deep sense of appreciation for,” McCoy said.
Now, as a student at The Ohio State University studying agricultural business and applied economics with a minor in political science, McCoy is excited to study and pursue a career in the agricultural industry.
“I have always told myself as long as I can be engaged in the agricultural industry, travel and interact with people, I am content,” McCoy said. “The aspiration of potentially working for Farm Bureau or the United States Department of Agriculture has always sparked my interest.”
When McCoy isn’t busy with school or studying for national office, he enjoys traveling and meeting new people. Often times he can be found working on structural projects or landscaping around his farm.
The Ohio FFA Association wishes McCoy the best of luck as the Ohio national officer candidate. The election results will be announced on Nov. 2 during the eighth general session of the National FFA Convention and Expo.