Franki Evans was an involved student and athlete during her time at Vinton-Shellsburg. During her four years, she participated in volleyball, soccer, National Honor Society and holds out hope her senior class will have one more softball season this summer. Where she made her biggest mark, however, is with the Vinton-Shellsburg FFA program.
“I started FFA because I saw how much they helped in the community,” Evans said. “My brother was in FFA as well and he absolutely loved it. He loved the advisors and all the people that were in it. I just wanted to be a part of that too.”
And Evans indeed became a part of the program over the years. She has worked as the chapter reporter and was named President this year. Over the past four years, Evans has competed in contests, taken part in community activities such as the pancake breakfast, and made lifelong friends along the way.
“Being in FFA, I knew I could participate in contests to help me with my leadership skills and with talking in front of a large group of people,” Evans said. “I definitely wanted to become an officer, because I just wanted to advocate for agriculture and help other people out within the organization. I feel like I got more confident in what I was saying when I did a job interview contest for FFA. I know one day soon these skills will be useful.”
As an officer and member, Evans enjoyed getting to know people and her advisors over the course of her high school career. While the senior herself isn’t heavily involved in agriculture, she has been surrounded by it and seen “many cool things and gone on so many tours” throughout her lifetime.
Her FFA career was set to end with the FFA banquet this month. During this annual event, FFA members are presented awards, elect next year’s officers and recognize the year’s accomplishments.
“All the officers kind of pitch in and we help wherever we are needed,” Evans said. “Usually, the president talks about the year. It’s pretty consistent, like a template to go off.”
Evans and the officers had just started discussing what they wanted to do for this year’s banquet when COVID-19 closed the school’s doors on March 16. The first planning meeting was postponed and later canceled. When the governor announced students would not return to school, the annual tradition was also canceled.
“It’s really sad to think about because that banquet was really fun,” Evans said. “So many people put a lot of work into the banquet each year. It’s a final goodbye for us seniors to our friends and advisor.”
Senior year did not end on the note Evans hoped for. The FFA State Convention was canceled due to the virus, along with her final season of soccer during what was projected as a potential “breakout year” for the program in 2020. While her year is over, Evans knows the next round of students and FFA members will follow and has one piece of advice for them.
“Definitely to do as many events as you can and go to conventions,” Evans said. “I’m going to miss all of those and being involved in a positive environment.”
The next stop for Evans is Iowa State University, where she plans to major in Ag Business and take advantage of the many opportunities the field provides. She currently works as a CNA at Virginia Gay Hospital. Before she leaves for college, Evans hopes Vinton-Shellsburg will celebrate graduation.
“My ideal graduation would be having it on the football field, everyone spread out,” Evans said. “Everyone could follow guidelines and hopefully liven things up here a bit.”
Evans wishes to return to Vinton after her college graduation and find her future in the town she grew up in.