GLENWOOD CITY — In the midst of finals, papers, projects and everything else that goes along with graduating high school, Kaitlin Konder was also busy applying to be a Wisconsin FFA Officer.
In March of this year Kaitlin decided she wanted to take her career in FFA beyond the Glenwood City High School so she logged on to the Wisconsin FFA website and downloaded an application.
By the end of April she had completed her application and ever since then it has been a whirlwind of interviews, tests and presentations all while just having graduated at the end of May with honors.
To back things up a bit and to understand why Kaitlin chose this step in life, you need to know her upbringing.
Kaitlin grew up on the outskirts of Glenwood City alongside her two sisters Kelsy and Kirsten. The three girls are the children of Kraig and Maureen, who farm in the community on a 45 cow dairy farm.
“Agriculture has always been a huge part of my life ever since I could walk,” shared Kaitlin.
And from the very beginning of her young life, Kaitlin was living amongst the cows. As a young child she was immediately active in dairy shows with her cattle shown at the St. Croix County Fair and Wisconsin State Fair.
“I have been very involved in the St. Croix County Dairy Judging Team, which I really enjoy,” Kaitlin mentioned.
However it wasn’t the cows and the fairs that brought her to FFA, it was in fact her older sister Kirsten who is a graduate of Glenwood City as well in the Class of 2008.
Kirsten went on to college at UW-River Falls and during that time in 2009-2010 she was elected as a State Officer.
Seeing this first hand put everything into perspective for Kaitlin and her eyes were on the prize now so she began to strive and thrive in the local FFA chapter.
“Ever since I became a member in seventh grade, I have always had a dream of becoming a State FFA Officer,” shared Kaitlin.
The following school year, Kaitlin submersed herself into FFA, participating in every activity she could.
As an eighth grader she was in the Creed Speaking Contest, which she advanced to the state level in and placed fifth overall.
Once Kaitlin was in High School she began to enter into nearly every contest possible. She was in the Dairy Handling contest at the state’s Career Development Events in Madison, Extemporaneous Speaking, Discussion Meet, Parliamentary Procedure, and Dairy Evaluation; which she placed third in at the Regional Championship at UWRF this past spring.
With her High School career nearing its end, Kaitlin decided it was time to make her move onto the next step.
“Becoming a State FFA Officer is a very timely process,” said Kaitlin. “First thing you have to do is decide whether you want to run for state office because it is such a time committed position.”
Once she made the decision, the application was filled out. She had to give all of her personal information, go through a background check, write a brief biography, answer multiple questions and then of course she had to explain why she wanted to be an officer.
“You also have to be receiving or have already received your state FFA degree, the highest degree you can receive at the state level,” explained Kaitlin.
Then a couple weeks ago it was convention time. Kaitlin had to go through four different interviews including group interview, personal interview, resume/application interview and an impromptu where she was given a situation and had to explain how she would handle it as an officer.
She was then required to take a 100 question knowledge test that asked about different people that run the FFA both state and nationwide, important dates and events to remember.
The top two state officer candidates from each of the ten sections around the state were able to move onto the delegate round.
In the delegate round, each candidate was to give an impromptu presentation after a topic was pulled from a hat, which is just like extemporaneous speaking.
Then two members from each chapter within the specific section decide on who they want as their new elected officer.
So District 4, Section 2 voted for Miss Kaitlin Konder as their new State FFA Officer for the 2015-16 term as Vice President of her Section.
As a State FFA Officer, Kaitlin’s job is to promote agriculture and FFA all around the State of Wisconsin.
This is achieved by participating in many different activities, but to name a few she accomplishes this by going to different leadership conference, chapter banquets and by making chapter visits to all the schools within the section; Baldwin-Woodville, Ellsworth, Hudson, New Richmond, River Falls, Spring Valley, St. Croix Central and of course Glenwood City.
“The main thing I want to focus on is being there for all of the advisors and members within my section and be there whenever they have a question or need help with filling out an application,” said Kaitlin. “I also want to encourage members to run for state officer because it is truly a remarkable experience and the more members running the better!”
Now that she is an elected officer, Kaitlin is committed to this role for one year. Following that one year term, she will then begin her college career at UW-River Falls.
Her dream is to become a Large Animal Vet so in the fall of 2016, she will begin her major in Pre-Veterinary Medicine.