Pittsfield teen takes on challenge of FFA state office

Willow Krumwiede, 18
Posted: Jun. 20, 2014 9:07 am Updated: Jul. 4, 2014 11:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

PITTSFIELD, Ill. -- Willow Krumwiede always looked up to the state FFA officers.

Now the 18-year-old from Pittsfield has joined their ranks and will spend the next year as state treasurer.

"I wasn't quite ready to be done with FFA," said Krumwiede, who graduated in May from Pittsfield High School. "I wanted to have another year ... to give back some of what I've gotten out of FFA over the last four years."

Krumwiede is part of the five-member team of state officers, elected June 12 during the 86th Illinois FFA State Convention in Springfield, that will travel across Illinois to work with FFA members.

"Each position has its different responsibilities. As treasurer, I keep track of financial accounts and different reports," she said. "But what it comes down to is just a title. We work as a team."

The team is spending this week in Decatur at a training session and next week will be in Washington, D.C. An international leadership seminar will be scheduled later. The main focus, though, will be Illinois and its FFA chapters.

"We split up all the schools among the five of us," Krumwiede said. "Each school will have a visit by a state officer."

Krumwiede got involved in FFA in ninth grade in Hartsburg with adviser Betsy Pech.

"I started finding my niche in FFA. I got hooked," she said.

She moved to Pittsfield in the spring of her sophomore year and joined that FFA chapter, working with adviser Jody Heavner and getting involved in a variety of activities. She served as Section 13 president, working with 14 schools.

The election process for state office was nerve-wracking. A selection committee trims the list of candidates to 10, who give speeches at the convention in a day-long process.

"You have the option to run for a certain office, but generally everybody runs for all five offices because they overlap so much," Krumwiede said. "Everybody gives a speech for president. The president is elected, and each time a new officer is elected, you give another one-minute speech. Two delegates from each school in the state all vote."

The new state officers -- President Cody Morris, Vice President Tommy Justison, Reporter Andrew Klein, Secretary Renee Kinzinger and Krumwiede -- all served as section presidents.

Holding a state office puts her post-high school plans on hold.

"They keep us very busy. There is no time to be attending college while you're a state officer," she said.

Krumwiede plans to attend the University of Illinois in the fall of 2015 and major in ag education. She would like to become an ag teacher and FFA adviser."