Faith Dellinger has always wanted to be a state FFA officer and last month her goal was accomplished.
The recent Stonewall Jackson graduate was named the state FFA reporter for the next 12 months. The announcement was made at the virtual FFA state convention on June 18. Dellinger said she was nervous but excited to hear her name called.
“This is the only team that actually got to hear their name called in their actual house rather than being on stage,” Dellinger said. “So although we couldn’t be all together at Blacksburg, it was definitely a personalized experience that no other team will be able to experience.”
Dellinger will give up college for a year so she can perform her duties as part of the state FFA officer team. She said as the reporter she will be going to workshops at schools to help grow the leadership, having meetings with different FFA sponsors and working on social media.
“As a reporter, I’m kind of in charge of social media,” Dellinger said. “So I’ll do my best to promote agriculture and address any issues on social media. And kind of use that as a platform, especially more now than ever during COVID because that’s kind of our only way to reach members and advisers throughout the state currently.”
Dellinger, who lives on a farm in Edinburg, said she became an FFA member in seventh grade. She said she went to a private school until sixth grade and then she went to Peter Muhlenberg Middle School. She said the FFA helped her find her place in the school. Then, when she went to high school, she had to switch to Stonewall Jackson High School due to the county’s boundary changes. She said the FFA helped her once again, added that’s part of why she wanted to be an FFA state officer.
“FFA was once again just that home for me,” she said. “I just want to give back to the organization. I just have a passion for FFA and the agriculture industry in general. I’m just so excited to travel Virginia and just see how diverse each chapter is even though we’re all united through the same love.”
Dellinger said once she started with the FFA she quickly realized the many opportunities it presented. She said over the years she entered the career development events, which she said are basically contests, she said she has won the state contest and competed nationally in both meats judging and soil judging and she has done public speaking.
“Basically, you get out of the organization whatever you put into it,” Dellinger said. “The more opportunities that I was aware of the more involved I became and the more interested I wanted to be in it. Ever since I knew about it I basically wanted to be as active as I could.”
Dellinger said for her supervised agriculture experience, which involves activities performed by students outside of scheduled classroom and laboratory time, she raises steer and hogs on her family’s farm. She said she also works at Baker’s Farm Fresh Pork processing facility in Mount Jackson.
Dellinger said at the end of July the state FFA officers are scheduled to go to Abingdon for a Farm Bureau conference and then they will be going to various county fairs to attend livestock shows. She said once schools open they are planning to go to different schools around the state to help promote the FFA.
She said she probably will go to college at Virginia Tech in 2021, noting that she wanted to an agriculture lawyer but now she’s starting to think she would like to be an agriculture teacher.
“I think it’s just a passion that I have inside of me that I’m going to want to carry out even after I have my year of service,” Dellinger said.
She said that one teacher who helped her get her start is former Peter Muhlenberg Middle School FFA adviser Derek Ritenour.
“He’s definitely the one person that got me introduced to the FAA,” she said. “He’s like the one person that I owe it all to basically because without him, I wouldn’t have been introduced to it.”