FFA caps another successful year at annual awards banquet


Former Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA member Valerie Earley. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Awaiting their awards are, from left, FFAers Cody Merkel, Jackson Rindels, Jennifer McNamara, Brianna Hindt and Jocelyn Voeltz. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Rachel Hansen, left, is installed as a chapter officer by Megan Schultz. Behind them is outgoing president Cody Merkel. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

“I love seeing each person here, wearing a blue jacket, work to go beyond anything they ever thought possible,” stated FFA member Emily Pliscott, guest speaker at the Spring Valley-Wykoff 61st annual FFA banquet held last Sunday night at Kingsland High School. 

Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA advisor Kristal Brogan and her students welcomed Pliscott and several other guests to celebrate the end of yet another successful FFA year during an awards ceremony that followed a busy week at the Minnesota State FFA convention, where the chapter’s career development event (CDE) teams competed against other CDE teams from across the state. 

Attendees and members first enjoyed a dinner catered by Ody’s, after which they heard Pliscott share about her FFA experience and how it shaped her life. Pliscott concluded in telling about how she’d witnessed so many FFAers making the choice to commit to doing more than the tasks set before them.

Then former Spring Valley-Wykoff FFAer Valerie Earley stood before the chapter, audience and Brogan, thanking them for their support when she served as a national FFA officer, as she presented the chapter with a framed blue corduroy FFA jacket that she wore while in national office. 

“I graduated in 2014…it’s good to be back here,” said Earley. “I got to serve as a national FFA officer, travel to 31 states and be at 11 FFA conventions, I got to go to the White House…it’s been a pretty packed year.  It really is the events that happen in the home chapter that make a difference.  A big ‘thank you’ to the people who aren’t wearing blue jackets — parents, family, community members.” 

Brogan took her turn in presenting awards, and she named Matthew Woods and Cody Merkel as recipients of her Outstanding Senior Award for their willingness to lend a hand whenever she needed help.  She addressed the seniors who stood alongside Woods and Merkel. 

“I want to thank you.  I hope each one of you learned something…I hope you grew,” she said.      

The chapter’s officers transitioned during the banquet, and retiring 2017-2018 officers included President Merkel, Vice President Jackson Rindels, Student Advisor Elizabeth Miller, Secretary Megan Schultz, Co-Treasurers Nora Jahn and Rachel Hansen, Reporters Madison Reiland and Sydney Eickhoff, Sentinel Nicole Lee and Historian Renee Lechner.  Students taking office for the 2018-2019 school year are President Eickhoff, Vice President Jahn, Secretary Hansen, Co-Treasurers Jacob Welch and Schultz, Reporter Jenna Schmidt and Sentinel Elijah Miller. 

The 2017-2018 Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA membership included: seventh graders Logan Simonson, Austin Lee, Tyler Grim, Josie Sanford, Anika Reiland and Kaden Dohlman; eighth graders Hannah Lange, Kennedy Fenske, Elise O’Connor, Maddie Snitker, Autumn Schreibvogel, Shelby Beck, Lydia Voeltz, Emily Miner, Esther Miller, Alyxys Harwood, Ashley McNamara, Audrey Webster, Nicole Schultz and Rebekah Hansen; ninth graders Lucas Heusinkveld, Faith Lange, Gavin Merkel, Elijah Miller and Carleton Corson; sophomores Nolan Fetterly, Luke Howard, Lydia Miller, Caitlin Miner, Madison Reiland and Kaysie Vreeman; and juniors Brianna Lee, Margaret Grim, Sydney Eickhoff, Nora Jahn, Renee Lechner, Megan Schultz, Rachel Hansen and Jacob Welch; seniors Cody Merkel, Matt Woods, Jackson Rindels, Brianna Hindt, Jocelyn Voeltz, Liz Miller, Nicole Lee, Jennifer McNamara, Ty Derry and Jordan Beck.