Monday, October 31, 2011

FFA Brings Home Awards at National Conference

It's a long road to Indianapolis, but CACC agriculture instructors Larry Hennkee, Chuck Miller, and Kevin Duncan say it's well worth the bus drive along I-70 to take their students to the National FFA Convention every year. The 2011 delegation included the three instructors and forty of their students, all earning the right to participate by either being on a competition team or by raising enough resources to join the trip.  Of the twelve traveling to compete, CACC agriculture students placed in four categories.
Agricultural Mechanics award winners (L-R) Drew Wulff, Tory Chasteen, & Lucas Boland
The teams were as follows: Dairy Cattle Judging, 6th place out of 43 teams--team members are Ben Carpenter, J.T. Denbigh, Alan Perry, and Jessica Vaughn.  All were Gold level individuals in the contest, with J.T. winning the Holstein division; Natural Resources, 2nd place out of 42 teams--team members are Sarah Darr ($1,000 scholarship) and Cooper Martin ($1,000 scholarship), Kelly Wilsdorf, and Thomas Pekkala, all Gold rated individuals; Nursery/Landscape, 10th place out of 42 teams--team members are Brandon Gerardy, Courtney Johnson, John Marshall, and Nick Sublette, all Gold rated individuals; and Agricultural Mechanics, 3rd place out of 46 teams.  Team members, (all Gold rated) are Lucas Boland, Tory Chasteen, Corey Rueter ($1,000 scholarship), and Drew Wulff.
Instructor Larry Henneke conferences with students before competition.
Junior Sarah Darr, a student in urban conservation, helped her team to the second place finish in Natural Resources.  She said her CACC class, along with countless hours of preparation, helped the team do well in competition.   "We study it all: water quality and aquatics, soils, wildlife, forestry...all of it puts us a step ahead of other teams."
While some were competing, others listened to guest speakers, participated in workshops, and mingled with over 55,000 FFA students from across the nation.  "There's a real camaraderie among the Aggies," Henneke noted of the convention, "The kids are able to see that, no matter where you go in this country, agriculture is still a vital part of life."
FFA Seniors (L-R) Katie Dirks, Brooke Eaton, and Taulor Bunch 
Even though the students went to compete and learn, both Darr and fellow junior FFA member Kelly Wilsdorf say their favorite part of the trip was spending the week with their team members.  "Our team dynamic works so well together, inside and outside of the competition," Wilsdorf said.  "It was so much fun being together--the bus ride, the restaurants, the hotel.  It's a memory of high school that I'll never forget."
Duncan echoed Wilsdorf's sentiment.  "We go to Indianapolis to give them the chance to compete and bring home a whole new appreciation of the agricultural community, and we're lucky enough to have kids that will build relationships that will stay with them for the rest of their lives."

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