By Jessica Hoover
Claire Baney, a 2017 graduate of Hamilton Southeastern High School, was recently selected by the Indiana FFA as the 2018 National Officer Candidate for the state. From Oct. 24 to 27 at the National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Baney will compete against up to 52 other candidates to serve as one of six National FFA Officers.
The process to become a National FFA Officer is intensive, with candidates going through a series of interviews judged by a nine-person nominating committee to determine their comprehension of agricultural issues and whether they have the necessary interpersonal and communication skills. The candidates also are judged based on a three-hour writing exercise, a two-minute workshop presentation to students, mock media interviews and a speech presented to the committee.
Baney is currently a freshman at Purdue University, double-majoring in agricultural economics and agricultural education. She spent the last year serving as the Indiana FFA State President, ending her term in June. She was selected as a national finalist for the National FFA Proficiency Award in Agricultural Education for her work teaching HSE students about the importance of agriculture and for advocating for agricultural education in conversation with public officials.
“I’m someone who just loves people, and I think that through this position I’d be able to just pour my heart into others,” Baney said. “I love being supportive and giving to others. … Agricultural education is something that I’m very passionate about. I really believe in what FFA is doing, and it’s so much more than just talking about agriculture. It’s really about leadership development. I always like to describe FFA as not an agricultural organization, but a leadership organization that’s based upon agricultural values.”