Elizabeth Johnson, a 2017 graduate of Syracuse-Dunbar-Avoca and a current sophomore at Northwest Missouri State, achieved a noteworthy distinction earlier this year when she was awarded the FFA American Degree on Oct. 27.
The FFA American Degree is awarded to less than one percent of FFA members nationwide.
This year, the 2108 National FFA Convention was at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., where over 68,000 FFA members gathered for a week long event and 4,255 individuals were honored with the American Degree.
Johnson said the effort toward her American Degree began in her freshman year at S-D-A.
To get started, Johnson got organized with an SAE or Supervised Agricultural Experience, which required that she begin, track and succeed on an agriculturally related business plan.
She chose to focus on cattle through FFA and 4-H.
Through the years, Johnson said she dedicated herself to those animals and their care and was true to tracking it all, including every expense, in record books.
Before gaining the American Degree, Johnson gained the State Degree by going through an interview process. After gaining state, Johnson was allowed to apply for the American Degree.
Through it all, Johnson said she understood that getting the American Degree would be very difficult, but she didn’t let that discourage her in becoming the first State Degree winner in some time at S-D-A and becoming the first American Degree winner in an even longer period.
Not surprisingly, Johnson’s future is tied to agriculture.
She’s majoring in agriculture education at Northwest Missouri State and plans to be an Ag teacher and FFA advisor.
She’ll probably have a similar message for students as the one she received in high school, that being to take ownership of your future and to make a plan  of action to succeed.
Certainly the FFA component of her education was noteworthy.
Johnson said the FFA experience of bringing agriculturally interested students together to learn and share knowledge is something that means a lot to her.
“I think everyone should be able to do that and have a part in it,” she said.
Elizabeth Johnson is  the daughter of Brad and Janet Johnson.