Herald JournalHerald Journal, May 5, 2003

Sawatzke named new state FFA vice president

By Jim Weninger, HLWW Ag Educator

Eric Sawatzke, a member of the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Chapter, was selected as the Minnesota State FFA vice president at the 74th State FFA Convention.

He will serve as a state officer for the upcoming 2003-04 year. A nominating committee selected all officers from a group of 14 individuals who applied for a state office.

Other officers include sentinel Dawn Luhmann from the Rushford-Peterson FFA chapter, reporter Mary La Valla from the St. Charles FFA chapter, treasurer Ken Deal of the Buffalo Lake-Hector FFA chapter, secretary Megan Kappers of the Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA chapter, and president Kristyna Schultz from the Litchfield FFA Chapter.

Just as many students work very hard at improving their skills in sports, drama, or other extracurricular activities, Sawatzke has spent four years improving his leadership skills while working at FFA activities.

As a freshman in high school, he set a goal for himself to some day become a state officer. His dream came true April 29 at the sixth general session of the convention in front of a packed Northrup Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota.

Sawatzke credits his success at accomplishing his goals to the work he has done the past four years. When asked about his goals, he commented, "Don't let society or your peers sidetrack you while pursuing what you truly believe in."

During his year of service, Sawatzke plans to build new friendships, as well as strengthen old ones. He also plans to represent the organization and its members and not himself.

The FFA mission speaks of premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. Sawatzke has demonstrated two of those three aspects by attaining a state office.

He, however, is well on his way towards attaining career success also. He will receive a $2,000 scholarship from the College of Education at the U of M and a $1,000 scholarship from the Minnesota Agricultural Education Leadership Council.

Sawatzke will pursue a degree in agricultural education at the University of Minnesota starting this fall.

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