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INDIANAPOLIS - Two Wisconsin FFA members brought home the highest honor in their proficiency projects at the National FFA Convention & Expo held in Indianapolis.

This four day event brings together tens of thousands of people who participate in service projects, tours, workshops and the country’s largest ag expo for students.

Katelyn Zimmerman of the Spencer FFA Chapter and Amelia Hayden of the Bigfoot FFA Chapter earned national Proficiency Awards during the annual convention.

The Wisconsin FFA delegation is calling their trip to Indianapolis a success. During the closing days of the National FFA Convention, two students from the Badger State were named national winners in their Proficiency Award areas.

Zimmerman won the top award in the proficiency area of Agricultural Education. According to a news release, Zimmerman has been a leader in her chapter’s agricultural literacy programs and Breakfast on the Farm activities.

The Spencer FFA member served as a camp counselor at the school’s agriscience camp and taught a lesson about seeds with a hands-on activity. She eventually became camp director and was charged with developing lesson plans, recruiting and training counselors and more.

Zimmerman plans to follow in her father's footsteps by pursuing a career as an agricultural education instructor and FFA advisor.

Hayden's passion for research was rewarded after winning the Agriscience Research—Integrated Systems proficiency award.

Hayden says she initially developed a passion for research because she wanted to find solutions for issues within the agricultural industry while improving her skills. The Big Foot FFA member has conducted research observing the effects of cinnamon as a nutritional supplement on the development of various systems.

Hayden hopes to find a dietary supplement which would lower blood glucose levels in animals. In college, she plans on majoring in microbiology and work in the field of epidemiology. 

National finalists

Other Wisconsin FFA members competing as national finalists in their respective proficiency award areas include: Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication – Logan Paul, Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA; Agricultural Mechanics Repair and Maintenance Entrepreneurship – Brett Koski, Waupaca FFA; Agricultural Processing – Levi Alsum, Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA; Beef Production Entrepreneurship – Daniel Walsh, Mauston FFA; Dairy Production Entrepreneurship – Carley Krull, Lake Mills FFA; Equine Science Entrepreneurship – Alexis Kwak, Prairie Farm FFA; Fruit Production – Lucas Miller, Randolph Cambria-Friesland FFA; Home and/or Community Development – Kayla Kaczorowski, Cochrane-Fountain City FFA; Sheep Production – Taylor Eilers, Waupaca FFA; and Specialty Crop Production – Anne Runde, Janesville Craig FFA.

Lomira FFA member Matthew Ries ran as a finalist for the American Star in Agricultural Placement award.

Hannah Taylor of the Poynette FFA Chapter competed as a National Officer candidate.

Chapter awards

Winning coveted Star Chapter awards were: Three Star Chapters – Badger, Big Foot, Cochrane-Fountain City, DeForest, Freedom, Prairie Farm, and Waupaca. Two Star Chapters – Barron, Beaver Dam, Columbus, Granton, Lodi, Marshall, Mishicot, Randolph Cambria-Friesland, River Valley, Sauk Prairie, Stanley-Boyd, Stevens Point, Thorp, Waupun, Weyauwega-Fremont, Winneconne, and Wisconsin Heights. One Star Chapter – Manawa.

American Degrees

One-hundred twenty seven Wisconsin FFA members were awarded the American Degree during the convention. The American Degree is the highest degree awarded to FFA members.

Sarah Daentl, Portage; Rachel Damm, Columbus; Deitric DeJager, Randolph-Cambria-Friesland (RCF); Connor DeYoung, RCF; Ryan Ebert, Weyauwega-Fremont; Rachel Elsing, Belleville; Samanatha Ewers, River Valley; Allison Foster, Montello; Jewel Frerickson, Stanley-Boyd; Michael Geissinger, Stratford; Leah Glunn, Montello; Liz Grady, Oregon; Laura Gray, DeForest; Caleb Green, Stanley-Boyd; Jenna Greeno, Tomah; Jordan Gropp, Spencer; Karlie Grundman, Weyauwega-Fremont; Gabe Gullisckrud, Elva-Strum; Brandon Hanes, Weyauwega-Fremont; Shane Hanson, Barron; Andrew Helmer, Plymouth; Abigail Henken, Waupun; Kaitlyn Hickey, Weyauwega-Fremont; Alexandra Hines, Ellsworth; Jared Holwerda, RCF.

Alex Hurtz, Cashton; Kara Hutter, River Valley; Emily Hutterer, Mishicot; Michaela Jones, RCF; Kali Kaiser, Edgar; Hanna Kearns, Orfordville-Parkview; Sadie Kolodziej, Stevens Point Sr; Joshua Korn, Cashton; Katie Kovalaske, Waterloo; Racheal Krug, Gilman; Tyler Kurt, Marshall; Katherine Larson, Viroqua; Jacie Lind, Hillsboro; James Luty, RCF; Trevor Mack, Reedsville; Brandon Magley, Reedsville; Thomas Malzacher, Sparta; Parke Massie, Barron; Emily Matzke, Sauk Prairie; Alie McNamara Oetzman, Montello; Madison Melms, Parkview; Trevor Meyer, Colby; Elizabeth Moellers, Mineral Point; Heidi Mueller, Verona Area; Laura Munger, Holmen; Emma Nelson, RCF; Kristian Nelson, RCF; Paige Nelson, Ellsworth.

Brady Nigh, Viroqua; Caleb Novak, Blackhawk; Colin Novak, Blackhawk; Britnney Nuthals, Bay Port; Hannah Olsen, Berlin; Brent Olson, Holmen; Zachary Olson, Adams-Friendship; Ryan Osuski, Cashton; Kaitlyn Owens, Wisconsin Heights; Amber Patterson, River Ridge; Samuel Peetz, Sauk Prairie; Brock Pelton, Reedsburg; Scott Pittz, Mineral Point; Jacob Rataczak, RCF; Moriah Rataczak, Portage; Melody Rex, Mayville; Matthew Ries, Lomira; Kyle Roberts, RCF; Tyson Rohrscheib, Elva-Strum; Michael Schroeder, Weyauwega-Fremont; Peter Schroeder, Tomah; Grace Skarlupka, West De Pere; Kayla Smith, Almond-Bancroft; Marissa Sprecher, Sauk Prairie; Samantha Storkel, Tomah; William Streich, Fort Atkinson.

Krista Styer, Menomonie; Jennifer Swan, Beaver Dam; Mikayla TeBeest, Brillion; Taylor Thoeny, Cochrane-Fountain City; Victoria Timme, Portage; Sarah VanAsten, Wrightstown; Cole VanOss, Denmark; Autumn Welke, Montello; Kenneth Wells, Owen-Withee; Ethan Westra, RCF; Samantha White, Stoughton; Abbey Williams, LaFarge; Nicole Winkers, Wisconsin Heights; Nicole Wright, Watertown, Logan Wucherpfennig, Granton; Kaila Wussow, Bonduel; Eric Wuthrich, Amherst; Devon Zblewski, Amherst; Michael Meddaugh, Granton; Kimberly Zills, Waupaca; Raymond Zills Waupaca, Ashley Zimmerman, Spencer; and Lyncee Zuehls, Montello.

Those receiving Honorary American Degrees include State Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Tony Evers; James Check; Executive Director/Treasurer of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association Regina Oldendorf and Lomira FFA Advisor and Ag Education teacher Dan Robinson.

Other honors

Chosen to represent the Badger state as National FFA Delegates were Alexis Leudtke, Beaver Dam FFA; Crystal Cafferty, Mauston FFA and Carissa Cleven, Tomah FFA (1st Alternate).

Leadership Development Event Award Winners include: Creed Speaking, Katrina Hoesly, Denmark FFA; Employment Skills, Katelyn Zimmerman, Spencer FFA; Extemporaneous Speaking, Braden Kundert, Badger FFA; Prepared Speaking, Tommie Loken, Mineral Point FFA.

National FFA Officer Nominating Committee Chairperson was former Wisconsin FFA President Sally Albers, Sauk Prairie FFA.

The following members performed in the 2017 National FFA Band and Chorus:

National FFA Band—Samantha Angotti, Freedom FFA; Samantha Holmstrom, Pecatonica FFA; Alex Lewandowski, Wittenberg-Birnamwood FFA; Emily Taylor, Poynette FFA; Lucas West, Cumberland FFA; and Moze West, Wisconsin Heights FFA

National FFA Chorus—Riley Jones, Darlington FFA; Haven Olson, DeForest FFA; Sierra Renderman, Owen-Withee FFA; and Leah Weninger, Hartford FFA.

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