April 30, 2007

HLWW FFA Chapter wins six first place state awards including 'Premier Chapter'

Unprecedented number of state titles return home with HLWW FFA

By Jennifer Gallus
Staff Writer

Fierce competitors, clothed in blue corduroy jackets, from the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted FFA Chapter headed to the University of Minnesota grounds April 22-24 to bring home some hardware.

Mission accomplished. The HLWW FFA Chapter sent 13 teams to the state FFA convention and came home with six state titles including the Premier Chapter Award.

In addition to the first place titles, many individuals excelled and were presented with a variety of other awards. Two teams, Parliamentary Procedure and Nursery Landscape, will advance to nationals.

“This is by far the best year we’ve ever had as far as FFA,” said HLWW FFA Advisor Jim Weninger.

“It makes a person wonder, ‘Where does a person go from here?’” he added.

“The kids keep coming through – they seem to rise to the challenge,” said HLWW High School Principal Mike Day.

“Every year they do better than the last. We appreciate every one of the FFA students and Winnie (Weninger) for being the director of all of this,” Day added.

“The kids are the ones who put forth the effort. They are the ones who really had to go above and beyond and take that extra step to be successful. That’s going to show through in their future lives in whatever they pursue,” Weninger said.

The HLWW FFA teams that earned first place are Parliamentary Procedure, Nursery Landscape, Novice Parliamentary Procedure, Small Animals, and Best Informed Greenhand team.

Parliamentary Procedure

Members of the Parliamentary Procedure team are Jason Koch, AJ Fasching, Courtney Heuer, Robert Westman, Sara Butterfass, Abby Sawatzke, and David Youngren.

“The parliamentary team was the top team from regions and at the U of MN invitational,” Weninger said.

This team will now advance to nationals.

Nursery Landscape

The Nursery Landscape team consists of Trevor Christensen, Jake Decker, Keith Diers, and Adam Horsch.

Christensen took first individually, and Diers was ranked fifth individually.

“Traditionally, we’ve had some good nursery landscape teams. We went to nationals three years ago. It’s one of my specialties, but we also get a lot of help from professionals in the area like Kris Uter, who works at Otten Brothers, and Sarah Fowler, who works at Minnesota Valley Wholesale, Shakopee,” Weninger said.

This team will also advance to nationals.

Novice Parliamentary Procedure

Members of the Novice Parliamentary team are Jillian Koch, Trevor Christensen, Nic Drusch, Justin Crowley, Jill Decker, and Crystal Jones.

“These are normally younger members who have never done parliamentary procedure before, so this was a big accomplishment,” Weninger said.

Small Animals

The Small Animals team consists of HLWW FFA members Sara Butterfass, Jill Decker, Courtney Heuer, and Crystal Jones.

Heuer placed third individually, and Jones placed seventh individually in this competition.

“In the past six years, we’ve had a really strong small animals team. We’ve had a lot of really intelligent girls in the top four, but could never win state in the past,” Weninger said.

“These girls put in a pile of time to achieve this win. They have practicums, identification, and tests. The practicums and tests at the state level are ridiculously hard,” he added.

Best Informed Greenhand

Members of the Best Informed Greenhand team are Matt Arlien, Christine Bobrowske, Austin Christensen, and Doreen Lorentz.

Bobrowske, Lorentz, and Christensen were second, third, and fourth individually.

“This competition is based on the history and operations of the National FFA Organization. They take a 100-question test,” Weninger said.

The Premier Chapter Award

For the first time ever, the HLWW FFA Chapter was named the Premier Chapter out of 181 chapters in the state. They also received $250 for this outstanding achievement.

The FFA chapter had to complete a comprehensive National Chapter Award Application for consideration as a Premier Chapter.

“The leadership class is responsible for completing the application. The application needs to feature nine activities we did over the last year that highlights our chapter,” Weninger explained.

“The award is based on activities we conduct as a chapter. Our program of activities is divided into three areas, which are student development, chapter development, and community development,” he added.

More FFA awards

• The HLWW FFA Dairy Cattle Evaluation team took fifth place out of 56 teams. Members of this team are Jason Koch, Jasmine Messervy, Robert Westman, and Derek Youngren.

“Fifth is pretty phenomenal out of 56 teams – it’s a huge accomplishment for these kids. We traditionally do well, which is a result of very strong 4-H programs in the area and area dairy families,” Weninger said.

• Robert Westman received a plaque and $100 for being named the Star in Agricultural Placement for Region IV.

• Courtney Heuer received a plaque and $100 for being named the Star Farmer in Region IV.

• Sara Butterfass received a plaque for third place in the Dairy Entrepreneurship Proficiency.

• Minnesota State FFA Degrees were awarded to Jill Decker, David Youngren, Robert Westman, and Courtney Heuer.

See more FFA pictures

To view pictures of the winning FFA teams, go to the Herald Journal’s School Page in this week’s paper.

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