GHS grad appointed state FFA vice president
Gloucester High School FFA member Cayla Mutschler, a 2015 GHS graduate, was appointed as a Virginia FFA vice president during the 89th annual Virginia FFA Convention held on June 22-25 at Virginia Tech.
Mutschler is the first GHS FFA chapter member to hold a state office since 1983-84 when Richard West was appointed as a vice president. Mutschler previously served as vice president of the GHS chapter.
It was just by circumstance that Mutschler got involved with the agriculture program at GHS, and subsequently FFA. “My freshman year, I wanted to be a registered nurse,” she recalled, but it was too late to get into the health sciences academy at the school. “So, they put me in plant science.”
It was the first year at GHS for agriculture science teacher Katie Staples, a recent graduate of Virginia Tech. Staples found she had several students who were 4-H members and interested in animal science, so she worked to get animal science added to the GHS horticulture curriculum. She also got the school FFA chapter active again.
“She really inspired me,” Mutschler said of Staples. “We really hit it off. I ran for vice president of the GHS chapter as a junior and quit cheerleading for FFA because that’s where my heart was,” Mutschler said. Staples and the GHS chapter members were also very supportive of her effort to gain a state FFA office.
Mutschler said she decided at the beginning of her senior year to pursue the state appointment. To qualify, she had to earn her FFA State Degree, the highest award conferred by the state chapter, and had to fill out an extensive application.
As one of the 15 candidates seeking a state office at the state FFA convention last month, Mutschler said she had to participate in intensive interviews with a five-member panel each day of the week-long conference. The panel consisted of two agriculture instructors, two representatives from the ag industry, and the past FFA state president.
The candidates were discouraged from stating which office they were interested in. “It was extremely stressful. We didn’t know what they would ask and we didn’t get any feedback. When the interviews were over, we did get some feedback. I was told I had a big personality, sometimes overwhelming. I didn’t feel as confident as I should have been after that,” said Mutschler.