Learn more about the newest Wisconsin FFA officers

Carol Spaeth-Bauer
Wisconsin State Farmer
The Wisconsin State FFA 2018-19 officers were announced during the 89th State Convention in Madison on June 13. Pictured (from left) are Emily Kruse, Mitchell Schroepfer, Paige Nelson, Jillian Tyler, Collin Weltzien, Ashley Hagenow, Amber Patterson, Gaelan Combs, Alexis Kwak and Sarah Calaway.

MADISON - It was an emotional end of an exciting five days as outgoing Wisconsin FFA President Ciera Ballmer announced the 2018-19 State FFA President — Amelia Hayden, who served as vice president the past year. 

Hayden, is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison majoring in microbiology. She hopes to pursue a career doing research and public outreach within agriscience, Wisconsin Ag Connection reported. 

Amelia Hayden

Other members of the 2018-19 state officer team include Alexis Kwak, vice president; Paige Nelson, secretary; Collin Weltzien, vice president; Amber Patterson, vice president; Gaelan Combs, sentinel; Ashley Hagenow, reporter; Jillian Tyler, vice president; Mitchell Schroepfer, treasurer; Sarah Calaway, vice president; and Emily Kruse, parliamentarian.

Section 1

Alexis Kwak, Prairie Farm FFA

Kwak has served as a chapter president and vice president, a national convention delegate and has competed in the horse evaluation career developed event. She was also the 2017 national proficiency finalist.

Kwak hopes that this year will give her the chance to help members find success and "have the most positive experience they can in the FFA organization." Her mission this year is to help students take advantage of every opportunity possible so that they can live out each line of the FFA motto, "Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve."

Her advisor is Courtney Deetz. 

Section 2

Paige Nelson, Ellsworth FFA

Nelson was the first member from her chapter to attend the Washington Leadership Conference. This helped grow her leadership skills and expanded the opportunities for service outreach locally. She has chaired over 15 different service activities and is a recipient of her American FFA Degree.

Nelson believes that "you get out of an experience what you put into it" and knows first hand this is true as she did not become 100 percent involved until her third year in the organization and has been hooked ever since. As a State FFA Officer, she will strive to remind student that they get out of FFA what they put into it and hel to expand opportunities for student to increase their involvement. 

Her advisor is Katie Christenson. 

Section 3

Collin Weltzien, Arcadia FFA Chapter

Weltzien credits his major contributions to his chapter as revitalizing their parliamentary procedure team. In addition, he has served as FFA president and parliamentarian, competed in dairy and soil judging, as well as competing in prepared, extemporaneous, parliamentary procedure and creed speaking. 

Weltzien notes that "he could never fully repay the Wisconsin Association of FFA for the positive impact his FFA experience has had on his life" and hopes to try and repay some of this during his year in service. He is confident that his ambitious, well-rounded agricultural knowledge will help him grow in this position. 

His advisors are Kevin Whalen and Steve Schank.

Section 4

Amber Patterson, River Ridge FFA

Patterson's love of agriculture also spilled into her FFA involvement, where she has participated in a wide array of events including the National FFA Convention, roadside clean up, safety day, and the meat evaluation career development event. She has also served as her chapter president, junior advisor and reporter. 

"I have seen how much FFA has changed my life and the opportunities it has given me," Patterson said. She hopes to "leave an impact on the member and grow tomorrow's leaders in section four. 

Her advisor is Shea Esser. 

Section 5

Gaelan Combs, Verona FFA 

When not hard at work on his supervised agricultural experience (SAE), Combs remains active in the FFA. He has served as his chapter's president and vice president and served as a leader on numerous committees. He has also attended the Washington Leadership and Half Time Conferences, and competed in prepared public speaking and employability skills, in addition to many other events. 

Combs credits his FFA involvement with the development of his leadership. "I've learned how to be a selfless teammate, a tireless advocate, and an inquisitive learner through FFA," Combs said. He is looking forward to being able to help "develop and guide the next generation of young, passionate learners."

His advisors are Jamie Morris and Angie Midthun-Hensen.

Section 6

Ashley Hagenow, Rio FFA

Although Hagenow has been involved in a plethora of FFA activities at the local, state and national levels, she cites her greatest contribution as the steady increase of membership in her home chapter, helping ti to become one of the largest and most active organizations in the school. It's a tradition of engagement that Hagenow will get to carry to the state level.

It is fitting that Hagenow is elected under the convention theme of "Live Your Why," as she feels this motto exemplifies her motivation for serving. She looks forward to being able to "enrich the lives of FFA member across the state" by helping them be more involved, providing encouragement and working with them to find their path and purpose. 

Her advisor is Alexandria Cooper.

Section 7

Jillian Tyler, Granton FFA

As a junior, Jillian was elected to chapter FFA president. That allowed her to help her new advisor with transitioning the chapter. By developing community and alumni connections, she has been able to strengthen her local chapter and has attended multiple leadership workshops, sweet treat socials, Relay for Life, fall festival and numerous other service activities. 

From a young age, Tyler thought to herself, "one day, I am going to be on that stage serving the FFA members" as her passion and experience grew. She is proud to now say that she has reached that goal to serve FFA. Tyler aims to provide new opportunities to FFA members with a focus on agricultural literacy. 

Her advisors are Cheryl Steinbach and Katie Reider. 

Section 8

Mitchell Schroepfer, Antigo FFA

Although Mitchell has been heavily involved in many areas of his FFA chapter, it was his officer team's work in establishing a community garden that is his greatest contribution. The garden, which grows produce for their local food pantries, was created in memory of thri alumni president who passed away. 

Schroepfer looks forward to spending this year continuing the "chain of encouragement" that he has received from other FFA members through the years. He hopes to "help members discover new and exciting opportunities" where they can excel. 

His advisor is Shalynn Domke. 

Section 9

Sarah Calaway, Denmark FFA

Although her animals kept her busy, Calaway made time to be involved in many FFA opportunities including breakfast on the farm, livestock judging, Farm Bureau Farm Forum, multiple leadership conferences and chapter fundraisers.

This year, Calaway hopes to make it her "priority to work with members to create effective goals" which will "allow them to have an end in mind and the plan to get there" so that they can achieve any and all the goals they have for their FFA experience. 

Her advisors are Mary Handrich and Marty Nowak. 

Section 10

Emily Kruse, Elkhorn FFA

In addition to the classroom and SAE, Kruse has had an active FFA career. She served as chapter president for two years while also expanding her speaking skill in eight different leadership development events including being a national semi-finalist in Creed Speaking. Kruse strives to get others more involved with her inclusive leadership style and past involvement experiences. 

Kruse commits to bringing "an ability to lead by example, undeniable enthusiasm and perspective to Wisconsin FFA." She believes that a passion for leadership can combine with a passion for agriculture to take the Wisconsin FFA Association to new heights.