New opportunities are opening up during the 2011 school year for North Hall High School senior Brittney Gunter.
Gunter, who was an Area 2 officer this year, is one of eight Georgia students selected to serve as a 2011 to 2012 state FFA officer. She will be representing the north region as state vice president.
"This is something I've been working on for two years," Gunter said. "I spent my past year doing everything I could as far as an area officer goes to get myself ready to run for state officer."
Gunter has been a member of the North Hall High organization, formerly known as Future Farmers of America, since her freshman year.
"I could not say enough good things about Brittney," North Hall High FFA Advisor John Sutton said. "She is just a well-rounded, good person who is ambitious."
In order to run for state office, Gunter had to be selected at the local level, as only one FFA member per organization may run. She then took an agriculture knowledge test and competed in two personal and one group interview in front of a nominating committee, which narrowed the pool of 21 candidates to four per region.
At the state convention in April, the finalists were further narrowed after performing two-minute speeches.
Out of the six first-round selections, those may run for state president and secretary. Gunter was selected to be a vice president after another north region finalist was chosen for one of those offices.
Georgia FFA Executive Vice President Ben Lastly, who was not surprised at all Gunter decided to run for state office, said she will be an ambassador for the association.
"She'll be at our farms, she'll be talking to CEOs," he said. "She'll be part of the official voting delegation at national convention and at the end of the year, she'll help preside over the 84th state convention."
Gunter was actively involved in as many aspects of FFA as possible from the moment she stepped foot in Sutton's classroom.
"I do pretty much everything, honestly," she said.
She served as a chapter officer, participated in numerous career development events, had a Supervised Agricultural Experience project showing Chester white and Yorkshire pigs, attended national leadership conferences and even went on an FFA chapter exchange program in Connecticut over spring break.
"FFA has taken me more places than anything else I've been involved in in my life," Gunter said. "FFA has taught me not only ethics and values, it's helped me to gain so many life skills I couldn't have learned anywhere else."
She plans to attend Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College for two years and then transfer to the University of Georgia, where she wants to graduate with both agricultural education and agricultural communication degrees.
"FFA showed me my career path," Gunter said. "My ultimate goal would be to be able to be Georgia State FFA Program Specialist."
Lastly said the state officer team will meet in June to begin preparing for the upcoming year.
Gunter said her best advice to young FFA members was to "do as much as you can."
"FFA is a thing that's been running through my family blood for years," she said, adding her aunt was a former state officer. "But that's not the only reason I wanted to do this. Putting on those corduroy jackets ... I have so much pride in what I stand for."