Senior Kanon Wollerman comes off as more personable than many adults we know. He speaks with confidence but isn’t overbearing. His voice is steady and welcoming; you can discuss anything with him. We know that Kanon’s strong public speaking performance (fourth in state) and FFA creed speaking wins indicate he’s a great communicator in front of a larger audience, but he also scales his sense of self-assurance, active listening and tone for one-on-one interactions. He validates the fact that public speaking skills elevate every form of communication, big or small.
Speaker of Note
“It definitely comes from how I was raised,” Kanon explains, discussing the origin of his social skills, when we ask. “My parents always told me to be myself.” At times in his school career, this wasn’t the most popular thing to do, but he persisted. “Always be yourself,” he warns. “When I talk to the younger generation, I say, be yourself, be who you want to be. If I make friends being myself, they’re going to be the best friends I’ve had.”
Kanon grew up on a fourth-generation family farm in Fayette County. Whether or not he decides to take up the helm of Wollerman Seed Sales, the family business, he’s itching to enter the world of agribusiness. “I’ve been helping my dad ever since I could walk,” he says. “I’ve really learned the curve of it.” The next step is an internship with United Prairie, where he’ll learn the ins and outs of agricultural sales. Kanon doesn’t write off the possibility of a return to the family farm of yore, but he’d like to check what else is out there first. He was accepted into Murray State University the other day and intends to hear an admission decision from Southern Illinois University in the coming year. In preparation for the career ahead of him, he’ll study agricultural business and science.
He’s also articulate in gridiron, and as a middle linebacker and offensive lineman, he maintains the same situational awareness and quick pick-up of audibles he uses in public speaking. Kanon’s a fish whisperer, as well. He’s on the bass fishing team, lending them a skill honed from years of practice on the ponds of farmers who bought the family’s seed products. FFA is where his heart is most present, though. He’s been an officer every year possible, served in the presidential role, and now has cycled to vice president. This renowned livestock judging champion signed up over sixty freshmen for FFA this year. “It was the biggest signing class we’ve had in a long time,” he beams. FFA brings Kanon great joy, and he appreciates how it can accommodate people who don’t share his agricultural background.
He doesn’t hesitate to sing the praises of Vandalia’s FFA participants: “It doesn’t matter where you come from. If you’re going into FFA, you can live on a farm or not. We accept all, and we’re always here for all the people. That’s one of the great things, you know, we’re just one big, great family. We’re always going to give you the best chance to succeed.”
One of the things that makes Kanon such a well-rounded individual prepared for success is that he’s aware of his strengths and weaknesses. If he could speak to his younger self, he’d tell that version of Kanon to “never give up.”
“Life’s going to throw a lot of wrenches into the plans and it’s going to hit you right in the face,” he continues his advice to a younger Kanon. “It’s going to hurt sometimes. But no matter what, you just got to keep your head up and keep moving.” That’s what we love most about moving objects like Kanon: they clearly communicate to the obstacles in front of them to either get out of the way or get wrecked.