Local FFA chapter wraps up year with banquet, awards

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE Senior Jacob Welch presents an award during the annual FFA banquet held on Sunday, May 5.

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE FFA advisor Kristal Brogan holds the sweatpants she presented to each graduating FFAer in recognition of their years in FFA and of their upcoming college careers.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Kingsland’s Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA chapter held its 62nd annual parent-member banquet this past Sunday evening, May 5, in the Kingsland High School café, celebrating the achievements of students who chose to learn leadership skills and explore agriculture’s importance to everyone’s well-being. 

The chapter’s 2018-2019 roster included seventh graders William Arndorfer, Kadence Aarsvold, Ethan Carr, Kadynse Fay, Ryley Guy, Kensie Heusinkveld, Arik Huebner, Madison Hubka, Rylie Jacobson, Olivia Kappers, Acelee Kohn, Kaylin Mensink, Emily Mlinar, Noah Mundfrom, Morgan Phillips, Kara Schmidt, Sam Snitker, Hannah Thielen, Beck Warren and Jacob Warren; eighth graders Logan Simonson and Anika Reiland; ninth graders Shelby Beck, Nicholas Fetterly, Kennedy Fenske, Rebekah Hansen, Alexys Harwood, Hannah Lange, Ashley McNamara, Esther Miller, Emily Miner, Hunter Mundfrom, Kaden Rath, Madelyn Snitker, Audrey Webster and Lydia Voeltz.  Sophomore members included Faith Lange, Dakota Hammond, Lucas Heusinkveld, Gavin Merkel and Elijah Miller; juniors participating were Nolan Fetterly, Lucas Howard, Lydia Miller, Caitlin Miner, Madison Reiland and Kaysie Vreeman; and seniors, Sydney Eickhoff, Rachel Hansen, Nora Jahn, Jenna Schmidt, Megan Schultz and Jacob Welch.  Kingsland ag instructor Kristal Brogan also serves as FFA advisor. 

The banquet and awards ceremony honored the FFA Pledge “to practice brotherhood, honor agricultural opportunities and responsibilities, and develop those qualities of leadership which an FFA member should possess.” 

Guest speaker of the evening was 2018-19 Minnesota State FFA Vice President Kegan Zimmerman, from the Red Rock Central chapter, who encouraged members to take an active role in their chapter: “Your motivation – how are you there for your friends, for your FFA chapter, moving forward?  Are you there for those 10 extra minutes of CDE practice?  It’s the little moments where we can put in the extra little bits and be part of that motivation.”

Awards included recognizing people who had distinguished themselves as vital leaders or people who support FFA’s mission, from the youngest or newest members receiving a Discovery Degree to the seniors who have accomplished almost everything they set out to experience. 

Honorary degrees were given to FFA members’ parents, including Jeff and Andrea Eickhoff, Kevin and Kim Schultz, Darvin and Maureen Schmidt, Kelly Hansen, Chris Hansen and Scott and Rachel Welch. 

Sydney Eickhoff and Megan Schultz both received their FFA State Degree, and Schultz was chosen for the Outstanding Senior Award. 

Brogan then stood to express her appreciation for the privilege of working with the six seniors who are graduating this spring. 

“I want to thank each one of them for the years of service and dedication to the chapter,” she said. “I hope through FFA and being involved that you learned leadership skills.” 

She then presented each senior with a collection of photographs taken during their FFA careers, adding, “Hopefully, you’ll look at these pictures and the memories you’ll have are that you had fun in FFA.” 

To the younger members, she stated, “This chapter is yours, and the future is where you want to take it.”

Retiring officers received a gift from Brogan, as is tradition, but instead of the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA sweatshirts she has given officers in the past, she chose sweatpants for each with the chapter’s name on them.

The chapter thanked her for her devotion to helping them develop their character – citing that without her lessons in leadership, they would not have become the leaders they are today. 

Retiring officers included President Sydney Eickhoff, Vice President Nora Jahn, Secretary Rachel Hansen, Co-Treasurers Jacob Welch and Megan Schultz, Reporter Jenna Schmidt and Sentinel Elijah Miller. 

Officers taking seats for the 2019-2020 school year included Nolan Fetterly as president, Vice President Lucas Howard, Secretary Alexys Harwood, Co-Treasurers Maddie Snitker and Rebekah Hansen, Reporter Kaysie Vreeman, Sentinel Hannah Lange and Historian Elise O’Connor. 

The Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA chapter keeps busy throughout the school year participating in agricultural experiences and career development competitions, holding fruit sales and exploring how agriculture benefits everyone.