Strasburg grad chosen as new state FFA president

Ashley Yanego, 18, a Strasburg High School class of 2016 graduate, stands outside the high school on Friday. Yanego was recently named state FFA president. Rich Cooley/Daily

STRASBURG – A recent Straburg High School graduate had her dreams come true after being selected as the state’s new FFA president.

Ashley Yanego, 18, of Strasburg, a member of the Strasburg High School Class of 2016, was chosen as Virginia’s FFA president at the state convention on June 24.

Her duties as president include attending various events, workshops and meetings, as well as giving presentations.

“As president, … one of my main duties is to bring harmony to my team because we all have different qualities to bring to the table,” Yanego said. “We’re all leaders in the organization to advocate for members and agriculture.”

In June, she completed a BLAST OFF Leadership Training program at Virginia Tech. This month she participates in an FFA Camp, the Virginia FFA Foundation Golf Tournament, the State President’s Leadership Conference and the National Leadership Conference for State Officers. During the remainder of her year as president she will visit FFA chapters throughout the state.

She added that her job also includes keeping the organization running smoothly and said she will reach out to her teammates for assistance.

“This year as a team when we go to schools, we’re working on developing premier leadership, personal growth and career success among members,” she said. “These are the things we keep in mind when we go see the members and have all these experiences.”

She related the work her team does as an educational internship because it’s a year of service they aren’t being paid to do.

In order to be considered for presidency, Yanego was required to apply. She said there were 21 candidates who turned in applications and seven who were selected to be on the state officer team.

At the four-day state convention, she said she had interviews each day.

“Everyday was something different,” she said.

She has deferred her enrollment at Virginia Tech for a year in order to fulfill her FFA state president duties. At Virginia Tech she will be studying in the Department of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

She said her family is very supportive of her as the family’s first FFA member and understands she will be gone for much of the year for FFA travel.

For anyone aspiring to become an FFA state president, she said she would tell them to dream big and work toward that dream every day.

“If you constantly have thoughts about pursuing some kind of leadership position, or any position, I think it’s important to stick to it and to not give up on it,” she said.

She admitted that even she had thoughts that she didn’t have the experience or potential to get to where she is now, but she stuck with it and kept working on her dreams with her mentors.

“FFA has definitely helped me with my personal growth and my want for service. I love service,” she said.

She has also served as the president of the Signal Knob Middle School and Strasburg High School FFA chapters.

She said the last time Strasburg High School had a state president was in the late 1990s.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or