By Tasha Schiedel
DASSEL, COKATO, MN Dassel-Cokato High School students have had a fantastic year so far, including sending 32 students to the state FFA competition April 25.
For the first time in DC FFA history, of the 10 teams that participated in the event, eight of them earned fourth place or higher. Three of these teams placed first.
The three first-place winning teams were in the categories of Milk Quality, Novice Parliamentary Procedure, and Agricultural Issues Forum.
“Having eight out of 10 teams earn a fourth-place finish or higher is absolutely incredible, and has never happened in DC FFA history,” DC ag advisor Eric Sawatzke said. “Our members really stepped up and worked hard to earn those honors.”
Ag advisor Larry Marquette also helped the students prepare for the journey to state, where they went up against more than 3,500 other students from Minnesota.
In the Milk Quality section, Eric Meredith, Lydia Meredith, Misty Petersen, and Jack Zeidler began preparing in January. They studied and worked together to prepare for individual and team competition.
Each competed individually on milk flavor identification and evaluation, fat content identification, California mastitis test, cheese identification, written exam, and problem-solving.
For the individual competition, Lydia Meredith placed second, and Eric Meredith placed third. Zeidler placed 22nd, and Petersen placed 48th.
As a team, they placed first.
When 11th-grader Lydia Meredith found out they won first place, she exclaimed, “Oh my goodness, we actually did it!”
Novice Parliamentary Procedure
The Novice Parliamentary Procedure team, consisting of Grace Zeidler, Jens Marttinen, Adam Hendrickson, Mariah Clark, Tabatha Williams, and Katrina Thinesen, began working on their preparations at the end of last year’s school year. They met once a week.
Thinesen, a ninth-grader, said the team “was nervous in the prep room,” while getting ready to present.
When the team was presented the first-place plaque, they were the first to be called. Thinesen said they initially thought they placed fifth. However, when standing on stage it occurred to the team, they won first place.
Thinesen whispered to teammate Clark, “Wait, did we actually win?”
Clark’s reply was “Yep, I think we did!”
In the Ag Issues Forum, the team members were Mya Hendrickson, Katie Hendrickson, Nolan Marttinen, Natalia Marttinen, and Erynn Amundson.
The team has worked hard since November 2015. They met one to three times a week to write a script.
The team had to prepare a debate offering both sides of an issue, but not come to a conclusion as to which is right or wrong. The team then hosted 15 debates to members and groups within the community.
Then, for the competition, a 15-minute “mock” meeting was demonstrated, followed with questions members must answer immediately.
“The questions were tough, and we were not told ahead of time,” stated Mya Hendrickson, tenth grade.
When the team found out they won first place, Hendrickson said she was “shocked and very surprised.”
The National FFA Competition will take place in Indianapolis mid-October.
DC FFA state results
• Ag Issues first place: Natalia Marttinen, Nolan Hendrickson, Mya Hendrickson, Katie Hendrickson, and Erynn Amundson.
• Milk Quality first place: Lydia Meredith, Eric Meredith, Mistin Petersen, Jack Zeidler, and Katie Hendrickson.
• Novice Parliamentary first place: Tabatha Williams, Mariah Clark, Katrina Thinesen, Adam Hendrickson, Jens Marttinen, and Grace Zeidler.
• Parliamentary Procedures third place: Spencer Flood, Kaitlyn Niska, Madeline Marttinen, Natalia Marttinen, Emma Erickson, and Melissa Moy.
• Creed third place: Katie Hendrickson.
• Ag Sales third place: Spencer Flood, Kaitlyn Niska, Dylan Terning, and David Kivisto.
• Landscaping fourth place: Emily Amundson, Alicia Johnson, Nick Selseth, and Madeline Marttinen.
• Food Science fourth place: Brittany Aho, Emily Monson, Dannalee Johnson, and Madison Mayer.
• Floriculture 14th place: Taylor Sangren, Olivia Dahlin, Gus Munson, and Abbie Anderson.
• Poultry 25th place: Kaedee Kay Bergquist, Skylar Sutton, and Michayla Hanson.