By Alaina Bartel
Times-Junction Staff Reporter
The FFA Chapter at Willard High School held its awards and appreciation banquet on March 16 where members were honored with certificates, degrees, plaques and took time to appreciate their FFA community.
“It truly shows the amount of support we have in this community for our FFA chapter,” said chapter president Derek Wilson. “The success of our members is dependent on the support that each and every one of you provides.”
Willard City Schools Superintendent Jeff Ritz spoke with pride about the local FFA chapter.
“I’d like to take a moment to recognize the accomplishments and achievements of our FFA program and our advisor Mrs. Nuhfer,” Ritz said. “Currently, our FFA program provides opportunities for over 75 students in Willard High School.
“In addition, every middle school student is a part of the program for at least one nine week period each year,” Ritz continued. “Through the tireless efforts of Mrs. Nuhfer and her officers, each of the students touched by our FFA program have the opportunity for new experiences in the area of personal growth, the development of career skills, and ready each individual in speaking and leadership skills.”
Several special guests were present including Willard Board of Education members, honorary chapter members, Willard administration and staff and former staff, business industry representatives, special guests of the Willard FFA, FFA representatives from other chapters, members or veterans of the United States Military, and parents of FFA members. There were over 100 members, parents, and supporters at the banquet.
Multiple FFA degrees were awarded to members, including the Greenhand Degree. The recipients of this degree must have satisfactory plans for a Supervised Agricultural Experience Program and demonstrate knowledge of the creed, code of ethics, motto, salute emblem, official dress, and important dates in FFA history.
The recipients included Angela Andrade, Nicholas Bauer, Mariah Behrendsen, Jane Espinoza, Natalie Iracheta, Lilyan Kenne, Abigail Kenestrick, Josh Medina, Regan Hartz, Zoey Hartz, Charity Newsome, Rachel Orozco, Blanca Pochotl, Becca Slone, Ivy Smith, Shyann Stephens, Cheyenne Tackett, and Brittney Ziegler.
The FFA Chapter Degree is awarded to those who have completed their second year of an agriculture class, have received their Greenhand Degree, completed an SAE project, and be involved in chapter activities and planning. Those recipients included Martha Alejandro, Chad Bivens, Raven Brant, Gilberta Ceja, Kathleen Schaaf, Jerett Sowers, and Brayden Niedermier.
The State FFA Degree is the highest award given by the state organization and members recognized as within the top two percent of FFA members in the State of Ohio. The degree will be awarded to the following members at the State FFA Convention in May. Awarded a plaque at the banquet were Austin Hartz, Pressley Buurma, Lesley Burton, and Annie Cummings.
The American FFA Degree is awarded to members who have the highest level of commitment to FFA and have made significant accomplishments in their agricultural experience. Molly Phillips will be awarded her American FFA Degree at the FFA Convention. She received a plaque at the banquet. Those holding this degree make up one-percent of the organization.
After degrees were awarded, freshman Regan Hartz presented the FFA Creed to those in attendance, which was written by E.M. Tiffany and adopted at the third National FFA Convention.
“I believe in the future of agriculture, with a faith born not of words but of deeds - achievements won by the present and past generations of agriculturists; in the promise of better days through better ways, even as the better things we now enjoy have come to us from the struggles of former years,” Hartz said. “I believe that American agriculture can and will hold true to the best traditions of our national life and that I can exert an influence in my home and community which will stand solid for my part in that inspiring task.”
The following Career Development Event groups were given trophies:
- Urban soils, Annie Cummings, Kathleen Schaaf, Caley Legg, and Phillip Bogner;
- Rural soils, Martha Alejandro, Pressley Buurma, Lesley Burton, Chad Bivens, Raven Brant;
- Job interview, Nicholas Bauer and Lesley Burton;
- Parliamentary procedure, Derek Wilson, Rebecca Blanton, Lesley Burton, Pressley Buurma, Phillip Bogner, Caley Legg;
- Novice pro, Ivy Smith, Regan Hartz, Zoey Hartz, Becca Slone, Shyann Stephens, Charity Newsome, Natalie Iracheta, Jane Espinoza, and Blanca Pochotl;
- Livestock judging, Annie Cummings, Derek Wilson, Raven Brant, Pressley Buurma, Chad Bivens, Rebecca Blanton, and Gabe Orozco;
- Dairy judging, Ivy Smith, Regan Hartz, Zoey Hartz, Becca Slone, Shyann Stephens, Charity Newsome, and Natalie Iracheta, and
- Public speaking, Regan Hartz, Zoey Hartz, Pressley Buurma, and Annie Cummings.
Pressley Buurma was also given a plaque for a proficiency award which she earned by working at Buurma Farms where she recorded her findings.
Several members received their FFA letters for their letter jackets. To earn the letter they must be a second year member and must have participated at state level events and be an active community members. Those awarded included Chad Bivens, Raven Brant, Kalyssa Sanders and Kathleen Schaaf.
The 110-percent award sponsored by Ag-Credit and presented by the Willard FFA Advisor Tiffany Nuhfer was awarded to Lesley Burton for her premier leadership and outstanding personal growth through the year.
“I often refer to the students who you are seeing walking across the stage tonight as ‘my kids,’” Nuhfer said. “I call them that because in the four years that I have spent with them, they very much become part of my family.
“I often tell people that I have the best job in the world, she noted. “I’m a firm believer that the best learning happens outside of our classroom walls, the best learning happens (in) downtown Indianapolis for National FFA Convention, or in a barn full of cows, dairy judging on a cold Saturday morning.”
The 2017 graduating seniors were given gold sashes to wear on their graduation day and include Rebecca Blanton, Derek Wilson, Caley Legg, Annie Cummings, Kathleen Schaaf, Phillip Bogner, and Gabe Orozco.
The students also recognized an honorary chapter members and presented Brock Nuhfer with a plaque.
“Brock is a continuous supporter of our chapter,
Cummings said. “He is always willing to help with our fundraisers and events. He often serves as chaperone for our many field trips throughout the year.”
The top three salesman for the years fundraisers were recognized and include second runners up Regan and Zoey Hartz, first runner up Lesley Burton and first place Chad Bivens.
The 2017 FFA Queen and King were crowned, which were Pressley Buurma and Chad Bivens. FFA members honored Tiffany Nuhfer with a gift to thank her for her dedication and guidance.
The 2017-2018 FFA officers were presented and include Lesley Burton as president-elect, Pressley Buurma as vice president-elect, Shyann Stephens as secretary-elect, Ivy Smith as treasurer-elect, Becca Slone as reporter-elect, Zoey Hartz as sentinel-elect, and Regan Hartz as student advisor-elect.
FFA members also awarded several certificates of appreciation to those in attendance, including Rachel Buurma, Caroline Burton, Alyssa Kramer, Lisa Phillips, Dr. Wenzel, Russel and Melissa Bivens, Jason Nuhfer, Dutchmaid, Courtney Carnahan, Brock Nuhfer, Mr. Schaaf, Mr. Ritz, Eric Brause, Shannon King and staff, April Sloan, Lanette Clemmons, Elizabeth Smith, Farm Credit, Ag Credit, and Faith Abbott.