Wisconsin FFA rolls out first online state convention celebration

Colleen Kottke
Wisconsin State Farmer
Wisconsin FFA online convention

During the first week of July, FFA members decked out in blue and gold corduroy jackets emblazoned with the names of their respective chapters descend on the Alliant Energy Center in Madison to celebrate a year's worth of accomplishments during the state convention.

This year the cavernous Exhibition Hall – the heart of the convention – was silent. Due to taking precautions during the coronavirus pandemic, Wisconsin's 91st State FFA Convention was cancelled. Embodying this year's theme, Rise Up, Stand Out in its truest form, Cheryl Zimmerman, Wisconsin FFA Executive Director and this year's officer team lead by president Collin Weltzien rolled up their sleeves and got to work putting together a virtual convention experience to celebrate Wisconsin FFA members and chapter achievements through the first ever online state convention presented on the Wisconsin FFA Facebook page, Instagram and/or the Wisconsin FFA Website wisconsinaged.org. 

Cheryl Zimmerman

“We never would have imagined that we would be delivering our Wisconsin FFA Convention online, but we are excited about the events and announcements that we have planned throughout the week. “Rise Up, Stand Out” is definitely an appropriate theme for this year’s convention as our state officers, members and advisors are overcoming many new challenges during this pandemic," said Cheryl Zimmerman, Wisconsin FFA Executive Director. "The State FFA Convention still provides everyone the opportunity to celebrate even though this year it looks and feels differently.”

While the online event featured the accomplishments of outstanding award recipients, it also provided a platform for state FFA officers to share personal messages throughout the week. While sitting in the comfort of their homes, FFA members were also treated to keynote addresses and live workshops from National FFA officers.

Wednesday and Thursday, featured the introduction of Wisconsin Star finalists in Agribusiness, Agriscience, Ag Placement and Farmers as well as the announcement of the 348 State Degrees recipients and finally the big reveal of the National Chapter Awards and Three Star Leaders.

Collin Weltzien

As any FFA member will tell you, the announcement of the new officer team is the highlight of the final evening's ceremony, with new officers running across the stage to join their fellow officer team members. This year's team was announced on Friday morning along with the presentation of the Stars Over Wisconsin winners.

The Wisconsin Association of FFA is a leading student organization due to the efforts of 253 FFA Chapters across the state. With a focus on premier leadership, personal growth and career success, students’ FFA activities complement agricultural classroom instruction by giving them an opportunity to apply their skills and knowledge while gaining real-world experience.