FFA milestone achieved for Cayuga student

Brett Jillson_DP 7.jpg

AURORA, N.Y. — May 13th was the last day of the NYS FFA State Convention, and an end to a competitive season for most FFA members. However, for Brett Jillson, a student at Southern Cayuga Central School, and a member of the Southern Cayuga FFA Chapter, it was the day that he was elected for a year of service as the NYS FFA District 7 President.

The FFA, a national youth organization, once known as Future Farmers of America offers both leadership and career development opportunities for students interested in any agriculturally related career. One in five American careers is founded in Agriculture and students studying agricultural education in NY High Schools are preparing for careers that are essential (Food Safety), current (“Green” technologies and renewable fuels) and lucrative (veterinary science). As an elected District President, Brett Jillson will have the opportunity to promote these opportunities throughout the state to students, administrators, businesses and legislators.

As an FFA Member over the past 6 years, Brett Jillson has taken advantage of the many opportunities for leadership and career development training that the FFA offers. The leadership skills developed throughout membership in the FFA have led to a talent for speaking, knowledge of agriculture and the FFA, and a passion for serving his community. As a District President, Brett will receive numerous hours of training and will spend a significant amount of time promoting Leadership and Agricultural Education to the 12 schools in his district. He will be visiting local schools, facilitating workshops and giving speeches to groups interested in Agriculture and Education.

Brett has been in the FFA since fifth grade. He has held the office of Chapter Historian for the past year and in such capacity has promoted the Chapter’s activities and accomplishments on Facebook and Instagram, while also maintaining a collection of photos and news clips about the Chapter’s endeavors. His passion for serving his community has led to work with the King Ferry Food Pantry and volunteering in the Emily Howland Elementary classrooms. This year, Brett has led the FFA PALS fifth and sixth grade students in a program mirroring the Jr. /Sr. High FFA program, thus sharing his knowledge and leadership skills, and encouraging active participation in this excellent organization. His emphasis on Public Speaking, Team Building and Agricultural knowledge and skills, has given these youngsters a leg up on the many opportunities available through Agriculture.

“The FFA prepares young people to be successful and career driven young leaders,” Derek Hill, Youth Program Specialist at Cornell University said. “State FFA District Presidents are often the ones training their peers to become those very things…their responsibilities are both significant and challenging.”

Still excited from the honor of his newly elected position, Brett will begin his year of service with Blast-off training on Thursday, May 18th. Time Management, Public Speaking, Key Message Identification, and Character-driven Decision Making will be explored in depth throughout the four day conference at Oswegatchie Educational Center in Croghan, NY. The next day it will be back to school with essays to write and homework to submit. It is a whirlwind experience, but one that will be well worth the challenge. After all, any FFA member knows being elected a District President is the opportunity of a lifetime.

–Kimberly Davidson
Southern Cayuga Central School