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Clay Sperl and Cypress Barrett replace two other Molalla students in FFA Mount Hood district positions

Clay Sperl sat in his chair, constantly shifting and clenching his sweat-laden hands together. He had never been more nervous in his life.

Cypress Barrett sat too, bouncing her knee in stress. She was "terrified."

The two nervous Molalla High students waited in a room at the district FFA competition as advisers out in the hallway tallied the votes for the Mount Hood district officer election.

Before these moments, Sperl and Barrett had filled out district officer applications and updated their resumes just in the nick of time.

But as leadership students at the high school, they had been heavily involved in the annual Share the Love fundraiser, which this year raised nearly $148,000 for three families in need. With the big event done, they had just a few days to complete their election speeches before the district competition.

Once they got to the competition, Sperl and Barrett participated in eight interviews with different representatives from each chapter in the district.

After the interviews, the nomination committee "slated" the candidates for a fitting position. Sperl was slated as president, and Barrett as reporter—not the position she wanted.

Then it was speech time.

"My interviews went very well, but my speech was quite the opposite," Sperl said. "After giving my speech, I was still hoping for an office, but was not expecting president."

Then it was announced that Sperl had in fact been elected as the district president for the 2020-2021 year.

"I am so excited to have this opportunity to lead this amazing district," Sperl said. "Mount Hood district is a very competitive district at both the state and national level. So excited for a great year as Mount Hood district president."

Now, it was time for vice president nominations.

"Luckily, someone nominated me for this position, going against the slate," Barrett said.

Barrett waited, knees bouncing, as an adviser came in and whispered in the announcer's ear. This is the part when Barrett was "terrified," that is, until the announcer said, "The new 2020-2021 Mount Hood District vice president is Cypress Barrett."

"I was so happy," Barrett said. "It was the position I had been hoping for."

COURTESY PHOTO: MACKENZIE BEHRLE - From left to right are newly elected Mount Hood district vice president Cypress Barrett, current vice Natalee Litchfield, newly elected district president Clay Sperl, and current president Emilie Mendoza.

She said she's proud she will get to serve alongside Sperl. And the feeling is mutual.

"When they announced me as president, I waited there for about 10 more minutes; and as soon as they announced Cypress for vice president," Sperl said, "I stuck my hand over and we both gave each other a little high five. This is exactly how we wanted it to turn out because we knew we would make an awesome team."

In their new roles, the two will fill the shoes of Emilie Mendoza and Natalee Litchfield, both also from Molalla High School.

"We are Molalla strong two years in a row," said Molalla Adviser Mackenzie Behrle.

Kristen Wohlers
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- Molalla FFA state qualifiers still get to compete

- Share the Love raises $147,695.45 for three families

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