ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
“FFA is more than just farming,” Allison Wegerer says. “You don’t have to live on a farm, or know anything about a farm, to have a good experience in FFA.”
Wegerer, a senior at Marion High School, said she has “always loved to be around the farm.”
The daughter of Louis and Judith Wegerer of Marion, she has one older sister, Andrea, who, along with her cousin, was instrumental in leading Allison toward FFA.
Her father also is an FFA alumnus.
Wegerer is the vice president of the Marion-Florence chapter of FFA.
“Allison does a good job of fulfilling her duties as an officer,” said her FFA sponsor, Mark Meyer. “Due to unusual circumstances that the chairman can’t be at every meeting, Allison does a good job of chairing meetings.”
This year marks the fourth consecutive year that Wegerer has been involved in FFA. She said her biggest achievement in FFA was being the vice president this year.
“FFA will help if you’re involved with any other organizations in the community,” Wegerer said. “It helps you know how to run a meeting and speak in front of a large group of people.”
Wegerer lived on a farm when she was younger, and although her family now lives in Marion, she is still active with farming and livestock.
“Dad works for the railroad, but he still farms and has livestock,” she said. “I like to go out and check the cows. I still help with the wheat harvest every summer.”
Wegerer was the manager for the Marion wrestling team this year-not only for the high school, but also for the middle school.
“It keeps us busy on quite a few Saturdays, which is when we normally like to get things done,” Judith Wegerer said.
Allison has numerous pets, including several cats and a dog. Her love for animals is guiding her toward a potential career in animal health.
Her love of animals has also led her to her “Supervised Agricultural Experience” through MHS. Similar to a work-study program, Wegerer works for veterinarian Jessica Laurin at the Health Clinic in Marion from 2 p.m. until 3:20 p.m. each weekday.
“My job is mainly to observe and help with examinations,” Wegerer said. “But I’ll do whatever they need help with.”
Laurin said Wegerer has demonstrated an interest and aptitude in the field.
“She has a chance to see what the vet tech job entails, and what her responsibilities would be in that position,” she said.
Laurin is an FFA alum, too.
“I was really active in FFA in high school and college,” she said. “FFA is an extremely meaningful organization. It gives you a chance at leadership skills, and it gives you a chance to look at a lot of vocational interests.
“I want to be a person that helps kids through the high school years, have a chance to explore all the agricultural avenues available.”
Next year, Wegerer may attend Colby Community College, where she hopes to pursue a degree as a veterinary technician.
“I’ve always liked animal health since I was little,” she said. “I started out wanting to be a veterinarian, but a vet-tech is the closest I’m going to get.
“Too much school to be a veterinarian,” she added with a smile.
“My freshman year in high school, I took animal science classes in FFA,” Wegerer said. “That was really helpful because that’s what I want my field of study to be.
“In that class, we learned all about the muscles and bone structures. I think that’s really interesting-and we got to dissect a fetal pig.”
Allison said the highlight of her four-year FFA career has been going to the national convention in Louisville, Ky., her freshman and junior years.
“We also had a lot of fun going to Colorado in the summer for our leadership retreat,” she said. “FFA has a lot of fun activities, and you get to meet new people from all across the country.”
Wegerer is quick to say FFA is her favorite subject at school. She said she “likes Mr. Meyer, but he puts up with a lot of stuff from all of us.”
Said Meyer: “Allison has been a very reliable student for the last four years. You could always count on her to be there to help when you need help.”
Meyer said his goals for FFA are to create opportunities the students wouldn’t otherwise have, and get them interested in finding a career path.
“I enjoy the opportunity to get to know the kids on a different level than just in the classroom,” Meyer said. “They’re a good set of kids and a lot of fun to be around.”
Wegerer said nothing good, even FFA, comes easily.
“FFA is a lot of work, but you have a lot of great experiences that you’ll take with you for years down the road,” she said. “And some of the stuff, I know I’ll be able to use for the rest of my life.”