I work at Kaitlynn’s Deli and Ice Cream Shop, help on my family’s row crop and pecan farm, and have an entrepreneurship project, Taste of Joy Cookie Dough.
What motivated you to want to become a Missouri FFA officer?
I was motivated to serve as a Missouri FFA state officer because I’ve been touched and inspired by past interactions with state officers. The first state officer I met was Kate Thompson when she came to my chapter’s Greenhand degree ceremony and barnwarming. She made an effort to talk to me throughout the night, and she was my partner in a game of “human wheelbarrow.” A month later, I saw Kate at National Convention and she remembered my name. That small act of intentionality made me feel so special. All the state officers I’ve met have been incredibly selfless, kind, and intentional, and I decided early on in my FFA career that I wanted to serve like them. I’ve also had the privilege to be raised by a Missouri FFA State Officer! My mom served as a State Vice President from 1987-88. Years outside of service, Mom continues to embody the principles she learned as a state officer in her roles as a parent, friend, church leader, agriculturalist, and Mayor of Brunswick! I have big shoes to fill but I am beyond excited to join this group of hardworking, compassionate individuals.
Who is your hero and why?
Both of my parents, Tim and Diane Rice, are tied for the title of my hero. Mom is enthusiastic, spontaneous, thoughtful, and empathetic. She and I will often go on hour-long walks on the farm where she helps me sort out my upcoming schedule and process life lessons. We especially love to go on walks late at night where we can look at the stars. During the initial COVID lockdown, Mom and I put together 13, 1000-piece puzzles and talked about everything under the sun. Mom helps me feel confident, fun and relaxed. Dad is my rock. He shows me he loves me by rotating my car tires, teaching me how to change my oil, serving on our local school board, and talking about commodity markets to prepare me for extemporaneous speaking contests. Between Mom’s words and quality time and Dad’s selfless actions, my parents have equipped me to face a multitude of challenges. They pray for me every day and have taught me what it means to love like Christ. What a blessing it is to call these amazing people my parents.
What are your plans for the future?
I plan to graduate from Brunswick High School in May of 2023. I then hope to obtain an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Missouri. While studying, I would like to complete research in plant sciences and study abroad. Upon graduation, I will either attend medical school to become a rural practice physician or pursue a career in the field of agriscience.
What is something unique or interesting that few people know about you?
I love Taylor Swift, Hamilton, and Wordle. I also enjoy playing several musical instruments including guitar and ukulele, and I played trombone in the 2021 National FFA Band.
Advice to FFA Members
One of my favorite quotes is, “The day you plant the seed is not the day you eat the fruit.” In FFA, you often have to wait. Whether you are aggressively refreshing Judging Card to see your Career Development Event results, waiting to hear back from an important application, or working on a tedious shop project that is just not coming together as quickly as you’d hoped, you’ll learn that patience is difficult to master. Then sometimes, you’ll get contest results or find out your chapter officer slate only to be bitterly disappointed. Failure can leave you feeling lost and confused. While it is hard to gain perspective in moments of waiting or frustration, I encourage you to remember that every time you write a speech, interview for an office, show an animal, or work a shift at your job, you are planting seeds that will one day produce plentiful fruit for you and others in your life. Every moment you spend in the blue jacket is an opportunity to nurture those seeds, and with patience and determination, you will see your efforts reciprocated. Take heart in the fact that the best is yet to come.