Pam Dahlman receives her American FFA Degree
By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN - Twelve FFA members from the Dassel-Cokato chapter have returned from the 82 Annual National FFA Convention, which took place in Indianapolis, IN Oct. 21 through Oct. 24.
There, some exciting things happened for the chapter including recognition of Pam Dahlman, a 2006 DC graduate, who received her American Degree, the highest honor bestowed on an FFA member.
This year, Dahlman was one of just over 3,000 members or less than 1 percent of the nation’s 500,000 FFA members in the nation to receive the degree.
“It’s really a high honor and a way to cap everything I’ve learned and a way to end my FFA career on a high note,” Dahlman said.
The American FFA Degree recognizes demonstrated leadership ability and outstanding achievements in agricultural business, production, processing or service programs, according to the National FFA Organization.
An FFA member must be eligible to apply, meaning they have productively invested $7,500 through a supervised agricultural experience, where they start, own, or hold a professional position in an existing agricultural enterprise.
For her supervised agricultural experience, which was in the area of agricultural communications, Dahlman worked for the Minnesota Dairy Goat Association as newsletter editor, Dahlco Seeds as both a field worker and assistant in communications project, and as a 4-H programming intern for the University of Minnesota-Extension in Wright County.
Demonstrated leadership and involvement are also factors for awarding the American FFA Degree.
DC FFA advisor Seena Glessing is proud of Dahlman’s accomplishments as an eight-year member.
“Throughout her time as a member, Pam has exemplified what an FFA member could be and has excelled at all levels at the chapter, regional, state and, now, national level,” Glessing said.
Dahlman suggests students give FFA a try.
“FFA is a leadership organization that engages students like nothing else does. It combines classroom, career, and leadership opportunities you can’t get anywhere else,” Dahlman said.
Darin Davis, a 2007 DC graduate, also received special recognition at the National FFA Convention as one of four finalists to compete in the Dairy Production Placement Proficiency award program.
Proficiency award recognizes FFA members who excelled as agricultural entrepreneurs, employees, or volunteers while they gained hands-on career experience, according to the National FFA Organization.
Davis has worked on his family’s dairy farm, Chanlore Farms, Inc. of Cokato, which includes 250 milking Holsteins. He also shows dairy cattle.
For being a finalist, Davis received a plaque and $500.
Also competing from the DC chapter was Abby Jo Imberg (sophomore), who competed in Creed Speaking, the reciting of the FFA Creed, and included a portion of questions related to the creed.
“It was scary and nerve-racking, but it was fun to compete with students from the different states,” Imberg said, of making it to the semi-finals and placing in the top 16. Only the top four go on to finals.
This was the first year Imberg went to nationals. One of the highlights for her, was listening to Mike Rowe, host of the Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs With Mike Rowe.
DC junior Alex Hauck and 2009 DC graduate James Frickstad were the first students from the school’s FFA chapter to perform in the National FFA Chorus.
Hauck and Frickstad were selected to participate at the state convention last spring and were recommended by their state choir director to perform at the national convention and then selected from 120 students, according to Hauck.
This was a big honor for Hauck because he has been told the national chorus is difficult to get into, he said.
Being in the national chorus means long hours of choir practice with the 83 other FFA members from across the nation.
In five days of the convention, there were 10 performances, with the largest performance being the last night of the convention in front of 56,000 people.
Prior to the performances, Hauck estimates they spent 50 or more hours practicing with the chorus.
“It was really cool to meet people from all over the nation,” Hauck said.
As a ninth grader, Hauck had hoped he would make it to the National FFA Convention for choir, and was disappointed when he didn’t.
This time when he applied, Hauck didn’t get his hopes up and was pleasantly surprised when he was notified.
“It was an opportunity I was happy to get a chance to have,” Hauck said.
Since many students are unaware of the musical opportunities FFA has to offer, Hauck recommends music students talk with Glessing and consider performing in the FFA choir or band.