It’s that time of year for graduating seniors to start making their futures more permanent. Many in the Class of 2022 are laying out the blueprints for their future by securing employment or signing onto colleges and applying for scholarships and aid. For every high school senior, huge decisions are being made right now.
For one Stevensville senior, Sydney Kostecki, her future is coming into focus with the help of FFA. Sydney’s life has been rooted in agriculture. She enjoys breeding and showing sheep and competing in numerous FFA Career & Leadership Development Events (C/LDEs) such as Veterinary Science, Livestock Evaluation, and Agricultural Education. Throughout her high school career, she has tried her hand in many other FFA C/LDEs, which has shaped her into the person she is today and sparked a passion.
Sydney currently has two possibilities of how her future may look. She is currently deciding whether to attend Murray State University in Tishomingo, OK, or Montana State University in Bozeman, MT. Sydney recently received the Vernon Dahlstrom Memorial Agriculture Scholarship from the Montana FFA Foundation. Vern Dahlstrom was a highly respected agricultural education instructor in Montana. This scholarship was created in his honor after his passing to assist students in the pursuit of a career in agriculture. The award is funded by an endowment provided by the family and friends of Vernon Dahlstrom and administered through the Montana FFA Foundation.
As a prerequisite for this scholarship, Sydney had to commit to pursuing an agriculture career. Luckily, that was not an obstacle she had to overcome. If Sydney attends Murray State, she will participate in collegiate livestock evaluation and plans on enrolling in their Agricultural Education program. If she attends Montana State, Sydney plans on studying Agricultural Education with an emphasis in Broadfield Teaching through the College of Agriculture at MSU.
Sydney has accomplished much through her agricultural experiences but she wouldn’t be where she is today without help.
“I want to thank Mrs. Josette Hackett and Mr. Trevor Motley [Agriculture Education instructors at Stevensville High School] for their endless support throughout this school year and for being great role models in my life,” said Sydney. “I really appreciate all of the opportunities I have had through my FFA experience. I would also like to thank my family. They are always so supportive and have helped me be successful and always been there for me and shaped me into the person I am, and I am becoming.”
Sydney is a passionate and whole-hearted person. She leaves a positive impact on anyone she encounters. Her determination, passion for service, and unwavering enthusiasm make her truly unique. Don’t be surprised when you hear about this Stevensville student doing great things in the future.
Sydney’s younger sister, Stevensville FFA member Savannah Kostecki, recently received the Montana FFA Sam Cornthwaite Memorial-Washington Leadership Conference (WLC) Scholarship.
Sam was a dedicated and extremely active member of the Shields Valley FFA Chapter in Clyde Park, MT. Sam’s enjoyment came from participating in career development events, but his passion was helping develop the leadership skills of those around him. Sam served as the Montana FFA State Treasurer in 2008-09, was a director for the Montana FFA Alumni from 2011-13, was the key player in the development and implementation of the Montana Leadership and Montana Advanced Leadership Conferences. But Sam did not stop there and was instrumental in helping prepare Montana FFA State Officer Candidates. While facilitating many of these conferences, Sam inspired members with his dedication to others, and enthusiasm. Sam tragically died in China while developing a program for orphans to become involved in career-based opportunities.
Savannah Kostecki, a sophomore at Stevensville High School, received $600 from this fund which will assist with the costs of this experience. Savannah initially heard about the scholarship from Trevor Motley, Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor, and it piqued her interest. After reflection she decided that she should apply for the scholarship so that she could put herself in new situations and learn more about leadership. Savannah plans on learning how to further develop her communication skills, how to be a leader in her chapter, and how to implement a community service project. Savannah is also looking forward to traveling in general and plans to make a presentation upon her return about what she learned. She is also looking forward to meeting new people and exploring Washington D.C.
Since 1969, WLC has allowed members from across the country to evaluate their personal skills and interests, develop leadership talent, and create service plans that will make a difference in their communities. Members will spend the week under the guidance of professionals, counselors, and FFA staff. In workshops, seminars, and small groups, members will focus on identifying and developing their personal strengths and goals while undergoing comprehensive leadership training that will help them guide their local FFA chapters. The capstone of the event will be a civic engagement activity where participants apply what they have learned to a hands-on activity.
FFA members will experience the history of the nation’s capital and tour landmarks including the Washington Monument, the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, and the U.S. Capitol, among others. Members will also have the opportunity to participate in congressional visits during the week.
Selwyn Hackett, a Stevensville High School sophomore, was recently awarded a scholarship for forging his way into the future. Selwyn applied for Montana FFA’s Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Grant through National FFA. Selwyn, an active member in Stevensville FFA, has chosen blacksmithing as his SAE and has plans to expand his current operation as part of being awarded a $1,000 grant. These grants are highly competitive and have specific criteria that must be met. Members applying must have thorough plans on how they will utilize the funding to enhance their current learning through their SAE project.
A Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) is a structured experiential and work-based learning opportunity in school-based agriculture programs to extend beyond the classroom that takes place in a setting outside of regular school hours in order to develop an individual student’s industry and career-based competencies. SAEs allow students to experience the diversity of agriculture and natural resource industries and to gain exposure to agricultural-related career pathways. SAEs require a documented formal project scope, accurate recordkeeping, and student advisor supervision.
During an interview with Selwyn, he was asked why he applied. He said, “I thought my business wasn’t known enough and I thought it would help my business become known and expand.” Selwyn has a small business, Selwyn’s Smithery, that currently operates in an outdoor smithing studio that he constructed. Selwyn wishes for his current business to grow and eventually become well known for his craftsmanship and products. Selwyn was also asked what he plans to do with the funding from this grant. He said, “I’m planning on getting a new anvil that will allow me to work more efficiently.” Selwyn currently uses a railroad tie as his anvil, but he is actively searching the market for a traditional anvil in the 100+ pound range.
Selwyn is grateful to have the opportunity to expand his business and continue his learning. He believes that this grant will help him “achieve a better and bigger business.”
The National FFA Organization provides leadership, personal growth, and career success training through agricultural education to 735,038 student members who belong to one of 8,817 local FFA chapters throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.