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Waupaca is state’s top FFA Chapter

June 27, 2013 | 0 comments

MADISON

The 84th Annual Wisconsin FFA Convention, June 10-13 at the Alliant Energy Center, capped another very successful year for the Waupaca FFA Chapter.

For the third year in a row, Waupaca earned honors as the state’s top FFA Chapter.

"We received the National Chapter Award, and that gave us the honor of being the number one chapter in the state," said chapter advisor Jenifer Erb. "Without checking my records, I believe this is the 12th time we’ve received this honor in the last 18 years."

She explained the award is based on student development, chapter development and community development. Judges consider the involvement of students and instructors in a variety of projects, events and activities that help educate others or provide community service.

"These activities need to be innovative and useful," Erb said. "They really look at how many people participate in organizing the events and what are the outcomes. For each activity you need four goals, and you need a plan of action for each goal and you need to provide information on the results that were achieved."

Events organized and participated in by the Waupaca chapter included Kids Against Hunger, FFA FarmFest, Conservation Day for third-grade students. Chapter members also work worked in the community garden.

Waupaca FFA members earned first place in the Student Development and Community Development divisions, and third place in the Chapter Development division.

CONVENTION AWARDS

Competing in the Opening and Closing Ceremony contest for middle school students, Taylor Eilers, Larkin Hooker-Moericke, Erin Montgomery, Elisha Riley, Jensen Trinrud, and Chloe Hamm earned first place out of nine teams.

"Students who participated in the contest were asked to memorize and recite the opening and closing ceremonies as written in the Official FFA manual. They were then evaluated on their poise, confidence and how accurately they recited each ceremony," Erb said.

Waupaca High School students competed in the FFA Opening and Closing Ceremony contest and finished in second place.

Tony Austreng took third place in the Wisconsin Star in Agriscience competition. "This award recognizes students who have created and developed their own science experiment, conducted research and evaluated results using scientific data and technology," Erb pointed out.

Nicole Jacowski earned fourth place in the FFA Job Interview Contest at the state convention. "Members are asked to select an agricultural career area in which they want the panel of judges to ask them questions," Erb noted.

She added, "Participants are judged by professionals and critiqued on their poise, confidence and other necessary traits to be successful in the business world."

PROFICIENCY AWARD WINNERS

Six Waupaca FFA members earned first-place honors in these proficiencies:

• Tony Austreng, Wildlife Production & Management;

• Morgan Platta Specialty Animal Production Entrepreneurship;

• Kaley Cardinal Small Animal Production & Care Entrepreneurship;

• Ashley Orr, Sheep Production Entrepreneurship;

• Ben Nickel, Grain Production Placement, and;

• Morgan Eilers, Beef Production Entrepreneurship.

"These students will compete on the regional level in July," Erb said. "If any of them score among the top four there, they will compete at the National FFA Convention. Out of the 25 proficiencies that we presented, 22 received a gold rating."

Erb noted that 12 Waupaca students received their State FFA degrees, and the Middle School Quiz Bowl team reached the finals.

"Our members attended workshops, worked in the newsroom and courtesy court," she said. "In all, we had about 30 of the 143 members in our chapter attend the convention."

STUDENT LEADERSHIP

At the state convention Waupaca’s Morgan Eilers was recognized as a Three Star Leader. She was rated as one of the best FFA members in Wisconsin during the 2012-13 school year.

Erb cites this as an example of the student leadership that is one of the key reasons for the success of the Waupaca FFA Chapter.

"We’ve had members win national proficiencies, and our chapter had done well on the national level," she remarked. "This serves as an inspiration to current members and gives them confidence to succeed because they see that others before them have done it."

Many of the projects and activities sponsored by the Waupaca FFA Chapter are planned and conducted by the student members who serve on 13 standing committees, Erb proudly acknowledged.

"We have a lot of kids who are very organized, have excellent time management skills and conduct themselves in a very professional manner," she noted. "They contact the teachers, transportation department and do much of the other work that’s necessary to make these programs successful."

BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL

Members are eligible to continue in FFA until the age of 21, and Erb said that 90 percent of the Waupaca FFA members remain active through the year following high school graduation.

"They have to be out of high school to receive their American FFA Degree, which is awarded at the national convention," she explained.

"Another reason we have so many members continue after high school is they can compete at the county and state fairs, and they can also fill out a proficiency during the year after they graduate from high school," Erb said. "After that there are not quite as many opportunities for them."

STRONG SUPPORT TEAM

Over the years, a strong support structure also has been created to bolster the efforts of the Waupaca FFA Chapter. "We’ve received excellent support from the Waupaca FFA Alumni, the school board and high school administration," Erb said.

However, she stressed that the greater Waupaca community has also provided tremendous support. "When we asked for donations for our Kids Against Hunger project, two of our FFA members received $10,000 in just over two months because people in the Waupaca community believe in the programs the FFA is involved in because they serve others."

THE NEXT STEP

As Wisconsin’s top FFA Chapter, Waupaca will now compete at the National FFA Convention, Oct. 30–Nov. 2 in Lousiville, KY.

"We took a look at our national chapter application and tweaked it a little more to make sure that we’re presenting our best effort for the national convention," Erb said.

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