KAYECY Ward, a 21-year-old university student from Bridgetown, is WA’s Rural Ambassador.
Her prizes include $1000, a trip to Scotland for a study tour and the honour of representing WA in the national level which will take place in Melbourne next year.
“My mum and dad were both there supporting me,” Kayecy said.
“They were so excited. They realised, with the calibre of all the candidates, that the competition was pretty fierce. Some of the other candidates were very articulate people, so Mum and Dad were so happy for me when I won.
“It will be hard to get back to uni now with all this excitement.
“I am in the fourth year of my Bachelor of Education degree at ECU in Bunbury. My aim is to become a teacher in rural WA when I have qualified, but I want to travel as well, so this prize will help start me off.
“When I get to the nationals I would like to be able to talk about something that has been achieved since the state finals, so I am working with some of the other candidates to do a project on endangered species,” Kayecy said.
“I am working on the education side of the project.
“In the meantime, I will be involved in a lot of things which the ag society runs, including the opening ceremony of the Royal Show in Perth.
“This program has given me a great opportunity to meet other like-minded people who are passionate about rural Australia and it renews one’s faith in the future when you see young people being involved in the community,” she said proudly.
It all started when she won the South West Region’s Rural Ambassador in July.
Kayecy went on to compete in the WA round in Perth last week to face some very stiff opposition, with candidates from Northampton, Korda, Northam and Kojonup.
To make the candidates feel comfortable, the Royal Agricultural Society put them all up in an hotel, then took them out to dinner, to allow them to get to know each other.
On the following day each candidate had to go through an interview process before three judges — the manager of the ANZ Bank, a university lecturer and a farmer for rural flavour.
“It was fairly intimidating with the judges asking questions which were quite complicated and in some cases controversial, especially questions relating to mulesing and GM modified crops.” Kayecy said.
“We then went on to a formal dinner in the president’s rooms at the Royal Ag Society after which we each had to give a talk on some topic we were passionate about.
“I spoke of the importance of volunteers contributing to the survival of communities,” she said.