Linden alumni and FFA take Indy

Six Linden FFA alumni earn American degrees and local girl makes history as new National FFA President.

Accompanied by Linden FFA adviser Chris Lemos, current FFA president Caylie Kobernick and vice-president Elizabeth Merenda along with junior Thomas Dondero attended. Linden FFA also had three alumni present to receive their American FFA degrees. Degree

Tammy Brady
Linden alumni present to receive their American degrees. Left to Right- Brooke Dondero, Helene Dondero, and Dana Brady.

recipients present were Dana Brady, Brooke Dondero, and Helene Dondero; Royce McPhee-Bayha and Kenneth Watkins IV also received their American Degrees but didn’t attend the convention.

The American FFA degree is given to those who have demonstrated strong commitment to the FFA and have made many achievements with their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects. To apply for this prestigious award, you must have graduated high school 12 months before the time of the convention at which it is granted.

Dana Brady, currently a student at Chico State, reflected on her experience, “It felt like I just won a big race. I finally accomplished everything I wanted to in the FFA program.

“It’s bittersweet knowing that I won’t wear my blue corduroy jacket anymore,” said Brady, “because some of my favorite memories have been made in that jacket. I’m glad that I applied. All of the hard work has paid off and has been recognized.”

The convention boasted a record-breaking attendance as more than 60,000 FFA students from all over the United States, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, flooded the streets of Indianapolis.

Linden students were inspired by this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

“The most memorable experience was closing ceremony,” said Caylie Kobernick, “when Bre got elected national president and just seeing her facial expressions when they announced her name.”

Dana Brady
FFA takes over Indy!

Breanna Holbert is currently a student at Chico State and previously served as California State FFA Secretary. She is very close with past and current Linden FFA officers and members due to the fact that she is a graduate of Tokay High School in Lodi.  Breanna’s  was selected to be our national officer candidate to represent California.

“There really wasn’t a particular position in mind,” said Holbert. “I just knew I wanted to be on the team and regardless of where I was placed, that would allow me to change other lives and be able to create drive within students to believe in their inner ability.”

Holbert made it through several rounds of interviews and was elected National FFA President at the closing session of the convention.

She described her reaction to that moment as “my mind was blank for the first time since the beginning of this process. I was feeling fear, excitement, anxiousness, skepticism, and love all pouring into me as I ran up. My faced showed how genuinely shocked I was.”

This is an incredible accomplishment because Holbert is the first African-American female to hold a national office.

Holbert is characteristically thoughtful and humble about this honor.

Elizabeth Merenda and Caylie Kobernick at the COLC, an officer conference for California’s Central Region, with new National FFA President Breanna Holbert before her win at nationals.

“I ran to serve ALL people,” said Holbert. “Regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or other, there is a place for me and a place for you in this organization. I understand the significance of breaking a glass ceiling for students of color, but my ability goes beyond my race and it is reflected into the students I have and wish to impact.”

I happen to be one of those students. Bre has been an amazing mentor to me over the years and such a great friend. I’m incredibly proud of her and couldn’t picture someone more deserving. She’s so inspiring, and I know she is going to continue doing great things for our organization.