From Prez to the Feds

FFA President Pursues Career as Game Warden


With his FFA blue corduroy jacket draped over his lap, Cedar Park FFA Chapter President Jackson Cox poses for his senior pictures. Cox will attend Stephen F. Austin State University this fall to study forestry with a concentration of wildlife to pursue a career as a game warden. “I like the position that game wardens have in the community as positive influences,” Cox said. “[They] lead people away from [making] bad decisions, promote conservation, and protect natural resources. I [want] to be a faithful steward of all that we’re entrusted with by God and take care of the natural resources [He] has entrusted us with, [as well as] motivate others to take care of it.” (Photo courtesy of Jackson Cox)

Kacey Miller, Reporter

In the last four years, he’s worked hard to achieve his position of leadership in his FFA chapter and serves as a role model for his fellow students in the classroom and community. He leads meetings, shows livestock, competes in state competitions and still finds time to go fishing in the afternoons. Now, in only a few more years, he plans to still be in a position of leadership, but for different people and a different purpose.

With the goal of becoming a Texas game warden, Cedar Park FFA Chapter President and senior Jackson Cox will attend Stephen F. Austin State University this fall to study forestry with a concentration of wildlife. His interest in becoming a game warden comes from the role they have in the environment and among people.

“I like the position that game wardens have in the community as positive influences,” Cox said. “They lead people away from [making] bad decisions, promote conservation, and protect natural resources. I want to be a faithful steward of all that we’re entrusted with by God and take care of the natural resources He has entrusted us with, as well as motivate others to take care of it.”

Cox took the Wildlife class offered through the agriculture department his sophomore year and he said the class helped further his knowledge on what he would need to know as a game warden. Before attending high school, though, Cox wasn’t planning on taking any ag classes at all.

“In middle school, when I talked to my counselor about high school course selections, I saw that the school had a wildlife class,” Cox said. “[Since] I was interested in becoming a game warden, I wanted to take the principles of agriculture class so I could go on and take Wildlife later.”

The principles of agriculture course is a freshman-only class for students who are interested in taking ag classes in high school. Cox said he took the course not expecting to participate very much in ag or the FFA, but was quickly proven wrong.

“I slowly became more and more involved in FFA during that year,” Cox said. “[My principles of ag teacher], Ms. Butler, encouraged me to show an animal and told me about all the contests I could compete in, and I just decided, okay, there’s some fun. I slowly got roped into the organization.”

During his freshman year, Cox showed a goat and competed in the milk quality and products contest, but didn’t get far in it due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was on the milk quality and products team, but we didn’t get to compete,” Cox said. “We went to one practice competition and then COVID shut it down. I did show a goat named Donner at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo, though.”

During the following year, when Cox was a sophomore, he showed a goat named Comet and said he did well with him in the livestock shows he attended. He didn’t compete in any LDEs, which are fall FFA contests, but continued to compete in the CDE milk quality and products.

“The milk quality and products team did pretty good that year,” Cox said. “We made it to the state contest but I got quarantined, and didn’t get to compete. That school year was weird since it was virtual. I didn’t really do that much else besides take the wildlife class and ag mech principles class.”

Cox also raced for the cross country team as a sophomore after deciding he wanted more of an athletic challenge than he would get taking P.E.

“I was inspired to run cross country because of my friends and I also met many new friends,” Cox said. “In cross country, I zoomed… I zoomed so fast. My one goal for the year was to beat Luke Matera in a race. And I succeeded at the East View race at East View High School. That’s all that was important to me during cross country.”

At the end of his sophomore year, Cox ran for the Cedar Park FFA Officer Team, which he was elected onto as treasurer for his junior year.

“Being treasurer was fun,” Cox said. “As treasurer, I kept track of receipts and disbursements and gave people advice on finances. I really enjoyed attending the state convention. It was my first time attending and it was a cool experience. We get to hear from a lot of guest speakers.”

Cox did compete in an LDE that year, chapter conducting, which is an FFA contest that focuses on parliamentary laws and how to run meetings, and he said it circumstantially helped prepare him for his government class.

I want to be a faithful steward of all that we’re entrusted with by God and take care of the natural resources He has entrusted us with, as well as motivate others to take care of it.

— Jackson Cox

“Chapter conducting was my favorite LDE that I’ve ever competed in,” Cox said. “We made it to the area competition but we didn’t make it to state. I learned a lot from that contest, dealing with parliamentary procedure and stuff like that. I also did wildlife and milk quality CDEs. Wildlife was fun. I qualified for state in milk quality, and I traveled to the state contest, but I did not get to compete at the state contest, because I was ineligible.”

At the end of his junior year, Cox ran for president of the FFA chapter unopposed, and was elected onto the officer team again for the 2022-2023 school year.

“I became president, and it was interesting because we didn’t have any returning officers on our team [besides me],” Cox said. “I was in a large leadership role. Instead of being the treasurer, I was in charge of directing the work of our chapter and guiding us in a direction so we could achieve the FFA mission.”

This year Cox competed in the public relations LDE and the wildlife CDE before switching over to the environmental and natural resources contest when his wildlife team became ineligible to compete.

“For the public relations contest, my team prepared a five minute or so presentation where we spoke to a potential million dollar donor for the FFA and let them know how their contribution would benefit both their company, the agricultural world and our chapter. [This fall], at the environmental and natural resources state contest, we got 10th out of 25 at state. Individually, I got the top score on our team. We only had a week and a half of practice, but I still learned a lot.”

In his free time, if he doesn’t need a nap, Cox said he has a few pastimes he likes to indulge in when he gets the chance. He tries to get all his homework done in class in order to keep a more open schedule after school.

“Sometimes I go fishing in the afternoon, so I travel around and go to different lakes and creeks,” Cox said. “Sometimes I have lunch with my mom or my dad. Then sometimes I go to Bible study and sometimes I go to work.”

Alongside all his early morning and afterschool practices for FFA contests and late nights at the barn, Cox has a job at Chick-fil-A, where he’s worked for over 1,600 days.

“I’ve worked at Chick-fil-A since eighth grade,” Cox said. “I showed up for an interview and they hired me when I was 14 and two months old. It was Dec. 27, 2018. I remember the date because I want to keep track of how long I’ve worked here. Less than 10 people have been at my restaurant as long as I have. I’m now a training captain. I got promoted this past summer.”

Cox was offered a position as manager, but refused it because of his heavy workload at school. He said he may reconsider the promotion in the future, but at the moment he is going to prioritize school and continue to attend his weekly Bible studies.

“I love Jesus,” Cox said. “Jesus is awesome. I first started my relationship with Jesus in sixth grade, when I accepted him into my life. The rest is history. I attend Bible studies now and I go to church every Sunday at Hill Country Bible Church.”

Cox might also opt to take on career-building internships instead of a position as manager at Chick-fil-A, but for now he said school is the most important thing.

“[During my junior] year I took two AP classes, so that was probably my most difficult year,” Cox said. “I took AP English and AP Spanish IV. My favorite AP class I’d say was Spanish IV AP, because you just get to hablar con tus amigos sobre muchas cosas y tener divertirse.”

High school has had its ups and downs, Cox said, with plenty of triumphs as well as tribulations.

“I was studious sometimes and then other times I was not,” Cox said. “Whenever I was stressed and unhappy, I was not having a good time at school. But whenever I was vibing and having fun, I was chilling.”

His advice for anyone entering high school is to pass their classes, he said, as failing some grading cycles has made him ineligible for several opportunities or contests in the past that he worked very hard for.

“Pass your classes,” Cox said. “Set clear goals and plan on how you can achieve them. If I knew that I wanted to be more involved in FFA my freshman year, or if I had seen where [my involvement] would have taken me, I think I could have gone a lot farther. And if I had goals on how I could influence others to become more involved in what they love and to grow closer to Christ from a religious standpoint, I think I would have been more successful. So my advice to everyone is to spend more time reflecting.”