To win, Anderson had to submit a resume and undergo several interviews at the local and regional level, before making his speech at the state contest in front of an audience of hundreds. His score was tallied immediately after the speech, a wait he called "agony."
Win brings luggage, scholarship, vacation
Anderson's first place title brought him a luggage set, a scholarship and vacation in Washington, D.C.
He said the $2,000 scholarship was a big motivation to enter the contest, but the trip to D.C. was an incentive as well.
"I had a blast," he said. "Seeing the capital as a whole, seeing the memorials, it was pretty impressive."
Just as impressive is Anderson's resume. It includes offices of regional FFA treasurer, FFA chapter president and former 4-H vice president. He was second in a national identification Skillathon and won local and regional outstanding youth contests before winning his state title.
It was all in a day's work, said Anderson. He feels such activities are important to the future of the country, providing a training ground for the next generation of leaders.
"One day, we're going to be voting age, and our country needs strong leadership. Somebody needs to step up and take charge."
Taking charge means getting involved
Taking charge means getting involved in your community, your school. More students should get involved in extracurricular activities, said Anderson. If not for fun, then for their future's sake.
"There's so many studies out there that say if kids don't have something to do, they find something to do, and often they can get involved with drugs. But, they (these activities) really give them something to do after school, an activity to be involved in."
Next fall, Anderson plans to take his leadership skills to the University of Kentucky as a freshman agriculture economics major.
"I'd really like to get into the appraisal end of agriculture, maybe make some money so I can get back and buy my own farm," he said, and join the ranks of the quiet heroes of the American bread basket.
"It is crucial that everyone appreciate the importance of agriculture, its historic significance, and its unsung hero, the American farmer," Anderson wrote.