Members of the top FFA chapter in the nation earn individual honors during banquet

FFA advisor Stacy Fritz shares stories about her FFA members during the FFA banquet held last Wednesday evening. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Carissa Campbell, Chase Ketterhagen, Morgan Zwart, Ashlee Maker, Shelby Isensee, Adrianna Crawford, Alanna Goetzinger and Kaci Goldsmith received their State Degree during the banquet. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Advisors Tim Willette and Stacy Fritz listen as their FFA members honor them. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS

Isaac Rain takes his post as the 2018-2019 chapter president. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
By : 
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy
Chatfield News


“I spend an awful lot of time with these guys…in some cases, more than their parents spend with them,” said Chatfield High School FFA advisor Stacy Fritz.

She spoke to the gathered family and community members attending the FFA banquet, held last Wednesday, May 16, at the Chatfield Elementary School.

And her FFA members, including chapter president Maggie Lowrey, would agree.

“Fritz has been an incredible influence in my life. She’s always there to lift us up with great words of wisdom. Back in seventh grade, I was so shy…I would never have imagined myself as president of our FFA chapter,” she stated.

The banquet, held each year to recognize the accomplishments of students who have joined and excelled in FFA, marked the end of the 2017-2018 chapter year. Awards were given to recipients of the Discovery Degree, the Greenhand Degree, Star Greenhand Award, Chapter Degree, Chapter Star Placement Award, Career Development Event participants and local proficiency award winners. Fritz and co-advisor Tim Willette announced their choices for outstanding junior and senior FFA members and recipients were announced for the Outstanding Service Award, the Jared Hammell Memorial Scholarship, the Chatfield FFA Alumni Scholarship, scholarships from the Fillmore County Pork Producers and All-American Co-op.

Of importance for the evening’s observations was Fritz sharing that Chatfield’s chapter has achieved a Three-Star Chapter Award, a national recognition of the chapter’s excellence in its mission to promote and learn about agriculture.

Fritz related, “We had second place a few years now, but this is the first time we’ve gotten first at nationals, and when we were on our way home from Indianapolis and the national convention, we were listening on the bus to the placements, and we heard the announcement for up to eighth place, then it cut out for a few seconds so we didn’t hear who was in sixth or seventh place, and they kept announcing the placements. We knew that we were either first, sixth or seventh, and when we heard that we were first, the whole bus erupted.”

She added, “I don’t know what would have been more exciting, being on the floor at the convention or on the bus when the whole thing was vibrating. I feel bad for that poor bus driver, but this doesn’t happen without every single person in the room. We have a lot of very good community support.”

Award recipients taking home certificates and scholarships were many. Ten members were recognized for their accomplishments with the FFA Chapter Degree; Isaac Rain earned the Chapter Star Placement Award; Adrianna Crawford was chosen for the Outstanding Junior Award, as Fritz pointed out that Crawford has served as her right hand throughout the school year; and Lowrey garnered the Outstanding Senior Award.

Kyle Van De Walker was chosen to receive the Outstanding Service Award.

State Degree earners included Carissa Campbell, Chase Ketterhagen, Morgan Zwart, Ashlee Maker, Shelby Isensee, Crawford, Kaci Goldsmith and Alanna Goetzinger.

Next, June Hammell presented recipients of the Jared Hammell Memorial Scholarship, calling Van De Walker, Maker, Bennett Gathje, Nikki Minter, Payton Guenther and Lowrey to accept their scholarships.

Then, the CHS FFA Alumni Association scholarships were distributed to Gathje, Minter, Van De Walker, Guenther and Lowrey.

All-American Co-op representative Beth Pagel shared her congratulations with the graduating seniors, then invited Gathje and Guenther to accept scholarships.

Fritz then asked the seniors to come up for her gift to them — her “senior boxes,” or boxes of photographs she’s taken or collected of each. She also told about the other item in the boxes…a juice box.

“Every day, Andy Tweten and I have a juice box break,” Fritz shared. “No matter what. We have a juice box date, and even if I’m grumpy that day, he tries to make me laugh, and at the beginning, I may not be really laughing, but by the end, I am actually happy. So there’s a juice box in every senior box…I want you to remember to live life, take a juice box break.”

At the close of the ceremony, the 2017-2018 officer team was retired — including Lowrey, vice president Guenther, secretary Zwart, treasurer Van De Walker, reporter Rain, sentinel Bennett Gathje, parliamentarian Kylar Solie, alumni rep Goldsmith and student advisor Crawford.

Rain was then introduced as the 2018-2019 chapter president, and Crawford will be vice president. Goldsmith will be treasurer and Beatrice Martin will be secretary. Goetzinger will be reporter and Isensee is sentinel. Zwart will be the historian and Campbell will be the alumni representative.

Fritz, Willette and their FFA members expressed their appreciation to the district and the community for making the chapter’s projects and banquet possible, as noted in the program, “Thank you to those who donated to the 19th annual banquet of the Chatfield FFA Chapter, including Scott and Jean Winslow, Kappers Big Red Barn, Taher Inc., and the CHS kitchen and custodial staff.”