Fiona Affronti

BUSY — Healdsburg High School senior Fiona Affronti has been involved in HHS leadership positions and FFA while in high school.

Fiona Affronti, a senior at Healdsburg High School (HHS), has accomplished more than what many students in her grade have in their four years of high school — and at the core of her involvement in various extracurricular activities is an interest in leadership. This is especially seen in her involvement in the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) program, which is built with the mission of making “a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”

Affronti has devoted the majority of her time at HHS as an active member of Healdsburg FFA, the Associated Student Body (ASB), the World Famous Greyhound Band and Digital Film. “I've definitely done a little bit of everything, from fine arts to agriculture to leadership, and all of them have taught me some really important skills that have shaped me into who I am today,” she said.

“Not really knowing what I wanted to do was the best thing going into high school. I have this philosophy of ‘why not try it?’ If you don’t like it, great, then you know at least one more thing you don’t want to do,” explained Affronti in reference to how she became engaged in such a wide variety of different leadership experiences.

Affronti’s FFA involvement began freshman year when she signed up for an ag class out of pure curiosity. “I was like, OK, why not? Worse comes to worse, I don't like it. I'll switch out,” she said.

Soon she found herself more involved than she ever thought she would be, starting off with her first speaking competition. This competition is known as Opening and Closing ceremonies, and is an introductory contest for new FFA members. In this contest, members on teams recite FFA’s Opening and Closing Ceremonies, and are judged based on memorization and presentation.

“I joined the team, and once you get to that point of involvement, it's really hard to stop. Soon I found myself trying to do everything that was possibly offered to me within the organization,” said Affronti. Throughout the next four years, she then went on to join the Agronomy, Parliamentary Procedure and Meat Judging teams.  Affronti also focused greatly on her newfound interest in poultry production, winning numerous awards along the way. For example she was a California FFA Poultry Production Proficiency State Winner through raising turkeys, chickens and laying hens. She received the award after she exemplified the most skill and passion out of all the poultry exhibitors in California FFA.

In 2019 she served her first year as a FFA chapter officer, where she was elected the role of reporter. “This meant I was in charge, alongside six other members, of organizing all of our chapter activities, running them, helping underclassmen get involved,” she explained further. This same year Affronti also served as a delegate at State FFA convention, meaning she was able to vote on agenda items that would be coming up for the California State FFA for the following year. “That was a really interesting thing for me to do because it really showed me the leadership and almost more political side of FFA, which was very interesting,” she said.

Junior year she also once again was a chapter officer, however she made the transition from the role as reporter, to vice president. Affronti explained the difference in positions, saying that “you're more of a mentoring role rather than a learning role on the team as vice.”

These mentorship roles are not the only way Affronti has continued to foster her leadership skills. For example, she has also done so through her continued involvement in public speaking competitions. These included Impromptu Public Speaking, which is a speaking contest in which participants have one minute to come up with a two minute speech about an agricultural issue, as well as Extemporaneous Public Speaking. Extemporaneous Public Speaking is another similar speaking competition in which you have 30 minutes to write a 4 to 6 minute informational speech about an agriculture issue.

While Affronti’s accomplishments within FFA may already seem extensive, this is only the beginning of her leadership experience. Outside of FFA, she has served as a member of the HHS Associated Student Body after being elected both junior and senior class president. She also is currently a team captain of the HHS girls varsity soccer team, as well as a section leader for the Greyhounds Band. Affronti was the Advanced Film station manager for stations 26 and 27 that HHS Digital runs as well. “I was kind of in charge of figuring out what programming goes on, who’s producing shows, who’s editing shows, and more which all helped me develop my organizational skills.”

Affronti still is unsure of her long-term plans, but looking in the near future she is planning on attending University of California, Santa Barbra, next fall with a major in communications and a minor in political science.

“Now, even though I currently am still not sure what I want to do in the future, I have realized what I liked about all these different things was the potential for leadership and being able to help other people,” she continued. “I am realizing that no matter what I do, I just want it to be making a positive impact somewhere … one way or another all I know is that I want to be able to put a smile on somebody’s face everyday.”

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