Laetitia Ray, 19, of Alamo, was the Nevada FFA President from March 2017 to March 2018. As a Nevada FFA State Officer, Ray represented FFA while developing leadership within herself and advocating for agriculture education.
As president, Ray was given many opportunities to represent the Nevada FFA at special events and helped lead her team during events.
Ray traveled to Washington, D.C., and Capitol Hill to advocate for agriculture. She also went to the 90th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. She traveled throughout Nevada to visit different FFA students and provide workshops.
“One of my favorite destinations and experiences I had as a FFA State Officer was my trip to South Africa,” she said. “I learned so many cool things about the country’s culture and history. We visited all kinds of farms including vineyards, orchards, and even an ostrich farm and an alligator farm.”
During her tenure, her favorite aspect of being the Nevada FFA State President was the opportunity she had to help others and herself learn and grow.
Ray stated, “I loved being a part of an organization that instilled leadership, knowledge, and experience. It wasn’t easy to work on a team or be put in tricky situations that required giving speeches and workshops and talking to strangers, but it was so worth it. Thanks to FFA and agriculture education, we are learning to do, doing to learn, earning to live, and living to serve.”
When talking with Ray about who has left an impact on her the most she responded, “All throughout my FFA experience, I have encountered inspiring people who have changed my life. One of those individuals is Catelyn Sanders. She is also a former Nevada FFA State President from Alamo, Nevada. She helped me to not only believe in myself, but also to work hard.”
Ray has grown a great deal from her position this past year. “I am grateful that I got to step outside my comfort zone and meet many different individuals from all over. When you are surrounded with hardworking individuals with a vision to positively change the world, you too begin to build more confidence and determination within yourself to make a difference. I came to know the importance of agriculture and education and I was able to better improve my speaking skills. I definitely learned more about communication and how it is key to a successful team and vision.”
Ray’s position as Nevada FFA State President required a lot of support. She commented, “My number one supporter in this journey was God. I am thankful that God directed my paths to serve Nevada FFA. He was my rock, and I couldn’t have done it without him. I am also grateful for my fellow teammates on the 2017-18 Nevada FFA State Officer Team who were a huge support to me. My family and friends were also always there to guide me along the way.”
She continued, “It was a huge blessing for me to be able to pay my first year of college with scholarships. My parents were also a huge support to me financially, and I am so grateful for them. Because of them, I could concentrate all of my efforts to serving Nevada FFA and going to college.”
When Ray decided to run for a state office, she was worried about stepping out of her comfort zone. Now, for those seeking an opportunity to become a FFA State Officer, Ray offers advice. “The funny thing about life is that you will never feel quite ready. It’s our experiences and the choices we make in life that will help us become a better person. I felt terrified when I decided to run for FFA State Office, but believe me when I say, it was so worth it. If you believe running for a FFA State Office is a path you would like to take, then take it. Work hard, serve and believe in yourself, and you will be given the opportunity to change the world.”
Ray finished her tenure as president and completed her first year of college at the University of Nevada – Reno, majoring in agricultural science. Her plan for the future is to serve an 18-month mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in the Japan Sapporo Mission.
After Ray returns home, she plans on attending Brigham Young University to obtain a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
Ray noted, “As a Nevada FFA State Officer and student, I gained a huge appreciation for agriculture. FFA truly does prepare students for future careers in and outside of the agriculture industry. Although I do not plan to study agricultural science at college, I know the skills I learned through an agricultural education will continue to benefit and push me forward in life.”
Although Ray’s position as Nevada FFA State President did not pay her to travel and conduct the many workshops and events in her home state and other destinations, she was paid in a much better way.
Ray explained, “I was paid with many experiences and opportunities to make a difference in my life and in others’. I believe those kinds of things are priceless and I am forever grateful for them.”