The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter held the Annual Banquet and Awards Program on Sunday, April 29, 2012.

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter held the Annual Banquet and Awards Program on Sunday, April 29, 2012. It was a great opportunity to honor the members and chapter leaders as well as the major supporters for the chapter throughout the year. Successes this year for the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter include: 39 Discovery Degrees, (7th & 8th Grade Members) 41 Greenhand Degrees, 31 Chapter Degrees, and 13 State Degrees. There were 74 individuals competing in Career Development Events and 104 members participated in making 502 crop samples for the Crops Show and Fairs. The Sleepy Eye FFA was also named the 5th top Chapter in the State of Minnesota for the National Chapter Award and a top ten chapter in the Land of Service Hours Challenge. Sleepy Eye FFA was the winner of the Minnesota FFA Ag. Literacy Challenge and winner of the Membership Challenge with over 85% of Ag. Students in Sleepy Eye in the FFA. Sleepy Eye was also in the top 3 for the CEI Contest at the State Level in Student Development.

This year our FFA Chapter has continued with their Service Theme and conducted several different programs and activities. They include the following: Adopt-a-Senior Program (62 members participated in making cards for Nursing Home and Countryside Living Residents each month) Wee Deliver Program (62 members participated in writing letters to third grade students each month)FFA Kiddy Barn (36 members participated in helping youth with holding chicks, monitored the Kiddy Barn Area, and conducted the Safety Carnival). Safety/Ag. in the Classroom Program (53 members participated in this program for the k-6th grade students at public and 5th & 6th graders from St. Mary’s.) Farm Fest (28 members participated in doing farm safety demonstrations for youth.) Corn Days (27 members conducted free safety and ag. games in the park.) Party in the Park & Harvestland Plot Days (19 members conducted free safety for attendees of these events.)

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter presented four Diamond Awards to supporters of the Chapter and its members. The Diamond Award went to Bruggeman Company Incorporated, Christensen Farms, Miller Sellner, and River Region Cooperative. These businesses supported FFA members for the State and National FFA Convention, Leadership Conferences, new FFA Jackets for 10 members, sponsored Chapter and Crop Show Awards, Region Banquet, and much more.

Each year, top scholar awards are presented to one FFA member in each grade who has the highest GPA in their respective class.These members received a plaque and a scholarship pin: Matt Miller, Sam Hirschboeck, Brandon Roiger, and Jessica Busch

   The Honorary Chapter Degree award is presented to individuals who helped out in exceptional ways this past year. This year’s Honorary Chapter Degree went to Doug Miller, who provided much time, support, and effort with the Advisory Board and Fruit Unloading.
The fruit sale was a successful fundraiser for our FFA Chapter this year. A great deal of thanks goes to our 2 top sellers who sold over $4,983 of products for the fruit sales this past year. Our Top Fruit Seller was Joe Kramer and our 2nd Place Seller was Bethany Seifert.

This year 12 of our members completed 13 proficiency awards at the region and state level. They proved that quality is what’s important by having 10 applications in the Top 3 at regions and 7 in the Top 3 at state, and 4 members earning the State Winning Proficiency Title.

This year we had 74 members participate in 18 different CDE or Career Development Teams this year, including 13 of those who qualified for State Competition. This alone is a great accomplishment. All of these students got involved and studied a lot of early mornings for their contests.

The leadership awards are presented to FFA members from each class who displayed tremendous amounts of leadership skills throughout the year and who participated in numerous FFA events. Freshmen winners were Justin Kotten and Ashley Johnson. The sophomore winners were Miranda McMullen and Carly Jensen. Junior winners were Emily Kjelshus and Sam Krebsbach.The Phoenix Awards are presented each year for Students who are upcoming leaders. These 3 individuals got involved, got others involved, and showed true enthusiasm for the FFA. This year’s 3 Phoenix Award Winners were Tiffany Ludewig and Jordyn Domeier. This year, a new honor was given to Jenna Soukup, called the Excellence Award. Jenna aided in coordinating FFA activities at St. Mary’s High School.

The Star Greenhand Award goes to the most outstanding Freshmen Greenhand degree participant for the year. This award is presented to a first year member who is active in the chapter, who has demonstrated leadership, and has a strong Supervised Agricultural Experience or SAE program in place. This year’s Star Greenhand was Bethany Seifert. The Sophomore Achievement Award states, "Overall Success is Achieved through Hard Work and Dedication." The Sophomore Achievement Award Winner for 2012 was Jamie Fischer. Chanda Fuller and Brandon Roiger received the Outstanding Junior Award, called the Blue and Gold Award. This award acknowledge those for overall achievement in the FFA. The Star in Agribusiness Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding SAE program at a business and who is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities. This year’s winner of Chapter Star Agribusiness Award was Michael Sprenger. The Star in Ag. Placement Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding placement SAE program and who is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities.  A placement SAE program means that you have a project where you work for someone in production agriculture. This year’s winner of Chapter Star in Ag. Placement was Cynthia Hansen. The Star Farmer Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding production SAE program and who is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities. This year’s winner of Chapter Star Farmer was Josie Fischer. In addition, a new award was given out this year to Jessica Busch, who received the Star Reporter Award.
This year, the Sleepy Eye FFA had the most State FFA Degree Recipients in the state of Minnesota with 13 members. The two State Degree Recipients who were chosen as the Senior Leadership Award Winners were Rachel Schroeder and Aileen Roman.

The Dekalb Agricultural Accomplishment Award for an outstanding agricultural student is sponsored by Monsanto Company. Since it was first presented in 1947, ag. education students from across the country have received this highly respected honor. The purpose of this award is to recognize student achievement in three areas: scholarship, leadership, and supervised agricultural experience programs.

This year’s winner of the Dekalb Agricultural Accomplishment Award was Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter President Nathan McMullen.

“I am so proud that I could take 45 students to the State FFA Convention this year (with the help of other chaperones of course). To have that many students do well and qualify for state was great.  And then, when I find out we have 4 teams in the top 5 in the state as well as 7 individuals in the top 3, what a true testament to all of the early morning practices, evening practices, and Saturday and Sunday practices.  It all paid off! What a fabulous end to another great year for this FFA Chapter.   
I do want to give a special thank you to the team coaches…Jill Nelson, the Dairy Coach and Larry Baumgardt, the Poultry & Soils Coach.With members competing in 16 events this year, there is no way I could do it all myself and I truly appreciate all of their time and effort with these teams.  Thank you!” commented Mrs. Hoffman.