By Kristen Miller
DASSEL-COKATO, MN Though the Dassel-Cokato FFA did not come away from the state convention with any first-place honors, they have much to be proud of.
Eric Sawatzke, advisor, said that most schools don’t even have one winning team that makes it in the top 10. This year, nine out of the 12 DC FFA teams competing made it in the top 10 among other honors.
“Although we did not end up with a nationals-bound team this year, most of our teams scored extremely high in their competitions and will be ready to do very well next spring,” Sawatzke commented.
The state FFA convention took place in St. Paul April 27-30.
Some of the highlights at the state convention included earning fifth place (out of 180 chapters) in the national FFA chapter competition.
The National Chapter Award is an 18-page application in which the chapter officers write about their nine most effective activities that were conducted throughout the year. The DC chapter officers wrote about activities such as the corn drive, hunger banquet, Adopt-a-Highway, and the national officer candidate training.
Also, DC FFA was awarded a special honor from Camp Courage for having the second-highest fundraising total of any FFA chapter during the annual corn drive last fall. Local farmers donated a grand total of over $23,000 in corn sales to Camp Courage. This was about triple the chapter’s average of $7,000. Tracy High School was in first place with $25,000.
Other highlights included:
• Cassie Mages and Linsey Strolberg earned their state FFA degrees.
• Emma Jorgenson earned third place in the state specialty animal proficiency.
• Joey Wraspir earned third place in the state diversified crop production proficiency.
• Taylor Baumann and Morgan Berg participated in the state FFA band.
FFA teams and placings
“I am extremely proud of the dedication that our students have had for their respective competition,” Sawatzke said.
“The key that they are learning is that winning might not always be the only definition of success. Being able to work together, set high goals, and strive to be their very best can mean so much more than being first place.
“That said, I have already heard from a number of members that are gearing up for next year as they set their sights on state championships. Many of the members are hungry for an earned trip to the national FFA convention, and are willing to put in the long hours and hard work that it takes to get there. Being able to witness that dedication makes me even more proud of these students.”
The individual and team placings include:
Korra Shay Richards, extemporaneous speaking, placed third out of 10 in the state.
The nursery/landscaping team placed second out of 38 teams. Members are: Morgan Berg eighth place individually (over 130 competitors), Ashley Burkhardt, 13th; Madeline Marttinen, 28th; and Michael Marttinen, 11th.
The farm management team placed eighth place out of 33 teams. Members are Kianna Goldsberry, who placed 24th individually (over 130 competitors), Abbey Halonen, 19th; Karissa Raisanen, 53rd; and Rebecca Moy, 62nd.
The floriculture team fourth out of 34 teams. Individual placings included Michaela Gallup 12th (over 130 competitors), Audrey Aspen 16th, Katrina Impola 46th, and Erin Aho 25th.
The novice parliamentary procedures team placed second out of eight teams. Members are Madeline Marttinen, Natalia Marttinen, Melissa Moy, Spencer Flood, Max Burkhardt and Kaitlyn Niska.
The parliamentary procedures team placed second out of 17 teams. They are Kassandra Niska, Rebecca Moy, Hannah Salfer, Alexis Burkhardt, Bella Schaefer, and Rebecca Hendrickson.
In prepared public speaking, Emily Amundson was a bronze medalist out of 18 competitors.
The agricultural mechanics team placed 17th out of 28 teams. Tristan Grangroth placed seventh out of 100 competitors, Adam Winkelman placed 93rd, Alex Jacobson placed 95th, and Derek Johnson placed 75th.
The soils team placed 10th out of 46 teams. Members are Robert Uldrych, who placed 18th (out of 170 competitors); Cassie Mages, who placed 16th; Marissa Caskey placed 63rd; and Katelynn Mattson placed 69th.
The market plan team placed fourth out of five teams. Members are Mercedes Lemke, Linsey Strolberg, and Taylor Baumann.
Small animals team placed ninth out of 49 teams. They are Andrea Wald, who placed seventh out of nearly 200 competitors; Emma Wald, 57th; Bre Poukka, 47th; and Shelby Prader, 130th.