It was a true show of commitment when Colbey Steeke politely declined an opportunity to play collegiate sports to continue his involvement with what he considered his deepest passion: FFA.
By BRYCE MARTIN
N.D. Group Editor
Steeke, 18, of Rhame has received numerous accolades throughout his high school athletic career but his current path involves less time with a football or on the wrestling mat and more time in classrooms interacting with FFA students.
The 2016 Scranton High School graduate was elected earlier this month as North Dakota FFA State Sentinel, fulfilling one of his lifelong goals.
“I’ve wanted to be a state FFA officer for as long as I could remember,” Steeke said Tuesday. “FFA has impacted me so much; now it is my turn to impact members all across North Dakota.”
The new role enables Steeke to continue serving as an advocate for agriculture and FFA.
“I stay pretty busy,” he said. He’s already spent several weeks in training seminars for his new office, learning how to further improve his communication skills — one of the cornerstones of FFA — in preparation for the extensive public speaking in his future as officer.
Agriculture runs thick in Steeke’s blood — his family runs a large agriculture operation near Rhame and both his parents have been involved with agriculture education. But, per his words, FFA is much more than farming and ranching.
According to Steeke only 3 percent of agriculture is actually production agriculture (farming and ranching), meaning there are many other avenues for education. “FFA is so much more,” he said.
It’s about developing better leaders for the future, defining career success and encouraging personal development.
The two biggest individual goals he learned from FFA were broadening his communication skills and maintaining perseverance.
“Things don’t always go your way. That holds true to life as well as FFA,” he said.
Steeke will spend much of his time focusing on those crucial ideals with FFA members in the coming year.
When his term ends next June, Steeke will attend Dickinson State University with a focus on agriculture education. He could follow in his parents’ footsteps to one day become a teacher.
“That’s the plan right now,” he said. But things could change, he admitted.
Another goal is to become an FFA advisor, like his mother.
“FFA something I hold near and dear to my heart,” he said, “and I always will.”