INDIANAPOLIS (Saturday, Oct. 22, 2011/National FFA Organization) – Alicia Hodnik knows that it takes a mere instant to make a lasting impression.
When recently touring the U.S. Naval Academy, she became enthralled at the chance to experience the history and importance of the landmark. Eager to soak up every moment she could, she grabbed her camera and sprinted up the steps of the building as fast as she could to beat the throngs of other tourists behind her.
She blasted through the doors and after rounding a corner collided with something or someone, she recalls. Dazed and picking herself and her camera up off the floor, she discovered that she ran into a U.S. Navy officer.
“He was our tour guide that day. I remember him genuinely shaking hands and greeting people in a very personal way as they entered the chapel,” Hodnik recalls. “He led the group around with a sense of ownership and pure devotion. I sensed that his heart was filled with integrity and commitment for his country, his branch of service, the academy -- everything.”
Once the tour was over and everyone was leaving, the officer singled Hodnik out from the crowd and said to her, “No matter what happens, make sure you remember this day, these sights and these smells. No matter what.”
Hodnik said that she’ll never forget her experience at the academy – especially the impression that naval officer made on her life in just a brief moment.
As a conclusion to the 84th National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, Hodnik was elected National FFA Central Region vice president for 2011-12.
Joining Hodnik to serve as national FFA officers for 2011-12 are Ryan W. Best of New Mexico as National FFA president, Jason Troendle of Minnesota as national secretary, Kenneth D. Quick Jr. of New York as Eastern Region vice president, Cain Thurmond of Georgia as Southern Region vice president and Seth Pratt of Idaho as Western Region vice president.
Originally from Walworth, Wis., Hodnik is a freshman at University of Wisconsin at River Falls pursuing a major in agricultural education with an emphasis on biotechnology. The daughter of Fred and Debra Hodnik and Donald Weber and Sharon Montgomery, she is a member of the Big Foot Union High School FFA Chapter in Walworth, Wis., led by advisors Rick Henningfeld and Lisa Konkel.
“A national FFA officer sometimes only gets a moment of time to meet someone and make a difference,” she said. “Whether five or 500 feet away, my influence must always be strong. The challenge is, I’ll never know what small moment will be the one that changes a person’s life.”
For the next year, Hodnik and her national officer peers will be the face and spirit of FFA. Collectively, they’ll travel more than 100,000 miles throughout the country as they engage top leaders in business, government and education and lead a host of personal growth and leadership training seminars for FFA members. The team will also help set policies that will shape the future of the National FFA Organization and promote agricultural literacy in general.
Formerly known as Future Farmers of America, the National FFA Organization provides agricultural education to 540,379 student members in grades seven through 12 who belong to one of 7,489 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.