0521 Sydney Place
By Melissa Mussman
OKABENA, Minn. — Sydney Place became an official FFA member four years ago, but she’s been involved much longer.
Her father, Keith Place, has been the adviser for the Southwest Star Concept FFA chapter for about 30 years, and has taken Sydney to many FFA events.
"I have been an official member since I was a freshman," smiled Sydney, 18. "But, I feel like I have been in it my whole life. I have been to 13 National FFA Conventions in my life, and I grew up with that drive to be an advocate for agriculture."
As an FFA member, Sydney, of Okabena, has taken part in many of the public speaking career development events. As a freshman, Syndney took top honors in the Creed Speaking contest at the state FFA convention, and as a sophomore, she placed first in Prepared Public Speaking.
"I really love public speaking," Sydney said. "There have been times where my friends thought I wouldn’t stop talking."
Sydney has grown up with crops and show pigs, so she is now raising show pigs for her supervised agriculture experience.
Sydney has also participated in several different conferences and camps throughout her years in FFA.
"I remember going to the State Greenhand Camp, and the state FFA officers at the time really made a difference in my experience in FFA," Sydney said. "As a state FFA officer now, I hope to do the same thing for the members of FFA across Minnesota attending conferences and camps like these."
On April 29, Sydney was sitting in the audience of Northrup Auditorium with the other state officer candidates when her friend Peter Thome was announced as sentinel.
"Just before he walked up there, he leaned over to me and whispered you are going to be next," Sydney said. "Ironically, I was actually called up right after he was. When I made my way on stage, he gave me a big bear hug. Once I was on stage, I knew it was going to be an amazing year."