Farm Horizons, December 2013
Leadership is the name of the game for HLWW senior Ryan Gailey
By Aaron Schultz
The life of a high school athlete can be a busy one. Managing your time between practices and games, and school work can really drain someone’s time.
If that isn’t enough, if you add being a member of the FFA, then time becomes even more limited. And lastly, if your the president of your FFA chapter, then time becomes an even more valuable commodity.
That is the case for Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted senior Ryan Gailey of Winsted, the son of Dave and Lorrie Gailey.
Ryan is not only a member of the FFA, but he is the president. He started out by joining FFA as a freshman, moved up to being vice-president as a junior, and that led him to president this year, his senior year.
“I was in a class with Winnie (James Weninger) as a freshman, and as part of the class we had to memorize the FFA creed,” Ryan said. “I memorized it in one day, and from there Winnie convinced me to join FFA. I went to a competition, and was really hooked on it from there.”
While FFA can take up a bunch of Ryan’s time, it is not the only thing he is focusing on while at HLWW.
Ryan has played football for the Lakers since his freshman season, which ended this past fall with him being a captain for HLWW.
He also has played both baseball and track in the spring, but is not sure which one of those two sports he’ll be playing in 2014.
In addition to FFA and athletics, Ryan is also a member of the HLWW National Honor Society.
Over the course of his time playing football and being in FFA, Ryan has worked hard to balance the two, but this year he couldn’t be in two places at once.
The HLWW football team did something it had never done in the team’s history, it advanced to the section title football game in late October.
Unfortunately for Ryan, he had already made the commitment to be at the FFA National Convention, so he had to miss that last football game.
“Sometimes the time management with everything gets stressful, and I’ll ask myself if it is really worth it?” Ryan said. “But I know I would really regret it if I quit something. And on the bright side, I am learning how to deal with that stress, so it gets easier everytime.”
“I’ve attended summer leadership camps for FFA, and with all of those FFA competitions, I’ve really enjoyed meeting new people. I have also learned a lot about leadership, which helped me in football being a captain,” Ryan said.
As for time management, Ryan really has to structure the time he has to accomplish everything he is involved with.
Along with spending at least an hour a day on his FFA duties, Ryan had practice every day after school for football, and then needed to carve out time at home for homework.
Besides time management, the big theme when it comes to Ryan is leadership, and just by talking to him, a person can tell that this young man has a bright future.
When Ryan graduates from HLWW he hopes to join one of the Service Academies Air Force Academy, Naval Academy, or West Point.
He has also already be accepted to the University of Minnesota-Duluth, which is where his older brother, another HLWW graduate, Jared Gailey, attends.
“Duluth is really my back-up, as I am applying to three service academies. My top choice is the Air Force Academy,” Ryan said. “It is a long and confusing process to get admitted. I’ve had interviews with our Senators, and its just a lot of stuff.”
If Ryan does get admitted into his top choice (Air Force Academy), he is looking at studying the sciences and/or aerotical engineering.
“Should I get to the Air Force Academy, I want to be a pilot, and maybe make it a career in the armed services,” Ryan said. “And being in FFA has helped me out a ton in preparing for the interview process, the presentations, and my resume.”
Balancing sports, NHS, school work, and FFA is no easy job, but Ryan has managed, while still looking toward the future.