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MHS senior Emilie Mendoza will compete for seat in May during a virtual convention

COURTESY PHOTO - Emilie Mendoza.After serving as the Mt. Hood district FFA (Future Farmers of America) president this year, Molalla High School senior Emilie Mendoza is ready to take it to the next level.

Mendoza is now running for a coveted Oregon FFA state officer position for the 2020-21 year.

"All year I had debated whether or not I wanted to run for state office, and ultimately, I made the decision to just go for it," Mendoza said.

She said, "The biggest reason I wanted to run was to help educate others to create change, whether that means advocating for agriculture to those who may not know a lot about the industry or advocating for more diversity in FFA."

Normally, the big election would take place at the state convention, which was scheduled for March 19-22 at Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, but the event, was canceled due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Oregon FFA opted to hold the components of its state competition in creative ways, primarily through a virtual convention. The state officer election is scheduled to take place the first weekend in May, said Molalla FFA adviser Mackenzie Behrle.

The election is expected to be competitive, according to Mendoza, with many excellent candidates.

"Although I'm very nervous, I have reminded myself that whatever happens I'm thankful to have had this opportunity," Mendoza said.

If elected, Mendoza would spend at least 250 days away from home attending meetings, trainings, the state fair and more. She would have the chance to impact countless people along the way.

And if she is elected, she has plans to do just that.

"If I am elected into the 2020-21 Oregon FFA state officer team for the year, I hope to inspire as many individuals as I can," Mendoza said, "and show them that there is a place for everyone in FFA, whether they intend to pursue a career in ag or not."

While the canceled state convention was expected to be Mendoza's last, perhaps she'll have a chance to experience one more as a state officer. We'll know in May.

Kristen Wohlers
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