By: Courtney Sellner Chapter Reporter
More than 64,000 student leaders swarmed in Indianapolis, Indiana at the 90th National FFA Convention from October 24– October 27, 2017. The streets were flooded with blue jackets as students spread the message of agriculture, learned about leadership and service, competed in rigorous career development events, and met fellow FFA members from across the nation.
Students were exposed to an agricultural based career show, heard dynamic speakers, and were inspired by energetic and motivating general sessions at the largest annual student convention in the country.
Twenty-six Sleepy Eye FFA Members attended the national convention including: Harley Braun, Martina Nienhaus, Kelsie Domeier, Paige Romberg, McKenzie Cselovszki, Lauren Klein, Maranda Braulick, Abby Hoffmann, Crystal Hecht, Hannah Schroepfer, Trey Heiderscheidt, Brittney Dittbenner, Kalli Christensen, Kathryn Schroepfer, Morgan Hoffmann, Emma Fischer, Cali Rossbach, Edwin Flores, Isabel Martinez, McKenna Dockter, Parker Neid, Sarah Rossbach, Isabella Portner, Crystal Portner, and Macy Schenk.
Chaperones for the trip included: Mary Hoffmann (Advisor), Nathan McMullen (Advisor), Kylie Lessman (Intern), Brandon Roiger (Former Member), and Jack Roessler (2015 Summer Ag. Ed. Intern).
The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter had two national proficiency finalists, Isabella Portner and Harley Braun. Isabella Portner was named the NATIONAL WINNER for the Dairy Production Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award. Isabella earned two plaques and $1000 in prize money. Harley Braun was named Runner Up for the National Ag. Education Proficiency Award. She was awarded with a plaque and $500.
Portner and Braun were one of only four people chosen to compete for their specific award areas at nationals during the 90th National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. The proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agriculture. Portner and Braun became eligible for the national award after winning the Minnesota state FFA competition earlier this year. During convention, each presented a two-minute opening statement and then were asked numerous questions in a 15 minute interview. On Friday of convention, the winners were announced on stage at the 6th Session of the National FFA Convention.
Two Sleepy Eye FFA Career Development Event (CDE) teams, Milk Quality & Products and Poultry, got to compete at the national level. The Milk Quality team placed 12th in the nation, earning a silver, with Sarah Rossbach placing gold individually and Isabella Portner, Courtney Sellner, and Lauren Klein placing silver individually. The Poultry team placed 17th, earning a silver, with McKenzie Cselovszki placing gold individually and Trey Heiderscheidt, Crystal Portner, and Parker Neid placing silver individually.
A total of 14 Sleepy Eye FFA members competed in the National Quiz Bowl Contest during National Convention week. The Quiz Bowl Contest consists of taking a 100 question knowledge test on the history and current information of the FFA.
The National Quiz Bowl team #1 consisting of Cali Rossbach, Martina Nienhaus, Abby Hoffmann, and Emma Fischer placed 10th out of 43 teams. Cali was the high scorer earning 21st out of 145 individuals.
The National Quiz Bowl team #2 consisting of Brittney Dittbenner, Kathryn Schroepfer, Edwin Flores, and McKenna Dockter placed 28th out of 43 teams. Brittney was the top scorer on team #2 team.
The National Quiz Bowl team #3 consisting of Kalli Christensen, Crystal Hecht, and Isabel Martinez placed 24th out of 43 teams. The top scorer on team #3 was Kalli.
The individuals on the Sr. National Quiz Bowl team were Paige Romberg, Morgan Hoffmann, and Maranda Braulick. The team placed 20th out of 41 teams and Paige was the high scorer placing 24th out of 142 individuals.
Isabel Martinez, Edwin Flores, and Brittney Dittbenner participated in a National FFA Focus Group on diversity while attending national convention. Sleepy Eye FFA advisor, Mary Hoffmann, also received her Honorary American Degree at the 90th National Convention.
During Convention, the Sleepy Eye FFA was named a THREE Star National Chapter for growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture activities that the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter highlighted in their National Chapter Award application. Officers Maranda Braulick and Macy Schenk accepted this award on behalf of our chapter.
In addition to attending the FFA Convention, members were also given the opportunity to attend several tours including: Ozark Fisheries, Not Just Popcorn, and Broken Wagon Bison Farms. Members learned about various aspects of agriculture, from traditional to nontraditional, while on these tours. The convention also featured a country music concert by Runaway June and the Rascal Flats as well as a hypnotist show.
While at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, several of the Sleepy Eye FFA members took time to work behind the scenes at the KNUJ Media Booth. They assisted Jim Bartels in interviewing different FFA Chapters around the state of Minnesota about their convention experiences and FFA activities. The Sleepy Eye group who volunteered included: Kelsie Domeier, Hannah Schroepfer, Morgan Hoffmann, Paige Romberg, McKenna Dockter, Martina Nienhaus, Maranda Braulick, Emma Fischer, Kathryn Schroepfer and Macy Schenk. Twelve of our members also interviewed on the radio about their own experiences and activities they are participating in for FFA.
“I am so very proud of all of my students who attended and competed at nationals. They worked very hard to achieve their level of success and it was extremely exciting to see them do so well. Less than 1% of the FFA members in the nation earn the opportunity to compete at the National Level and we had over 13% of our Sleepy Eye members competing this year. What an elite group to be a part of!”- FFA Advisor Mary Hoffmann remarked.
“We also want to thank our Sleepy Eye Ag. Boosters, local businesses, and the Sleepy Eye School District for supporting our National Competitors and Sleepy Eye FFA National Convention Delegates. Without your support, many of our members would not have had the funds to attend the convention. We truly appreciate your contributions to helping our members to learn about career opportunities, leadership, and service.” – Commented Advisor Nathan McMullen.
The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter had seven American FFA Degree Recipients. They included: Harley Braun, Kacie Goblirsch, Austin Fischer, Ashley Johnson, Justin Kotten, Matthew Miller, Bethany Seifert.