The FFA held their annual banquet and awards program on Sunday, May 7 to honor members, chapter leaders and major supporters of the chapter.

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter held their annual banquet and awards program on Sunday, May 7. It was a great opportunity to honor the members and chapter leaders, as well as major supporters of the chapter throughout the year.

Chapter successes included: 45 Discovery Degrees (seventh and eighth grade members), 41 Greenhand Degrees, 27 Chapter Degrees, and 15 State Degrees.

This year the Sleepy Eye FFA chapter has continued with their service theme and conducted several different programs and activities, including: Adopt-a-Senior Program, 62 members making cards for nursing home and Countryside Living residents each month; Wee Deliver Program, 63 members wrote letters to third grade students at Sleepy Eye Public and St. Mary’s School each month; volunteering at Faith Jam; Ag. in the Classroom Program; Safety Programs, more than 70 members participated in teaching youth and conducting a Safety Carnival at Party in the Park, Christensen Farms Family Day, Harvestland Appreciation, Farm Fest, Corn Days, the Brown County Fair, and Safety Day Camp.

Sleepy Eye FFA members who participated in at least three of these programs were named 3, 4 or 5 Star Members, or 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 or 11 Star Leaders. Twenty-one FFA members were presented with certificates for being 3 to 5 Star Members and 34 members were presented with trophies for being 6 to 11 Star Leaders.

Diamond Awards were presented to Sleepy Eye FFA supporters—Kibble Equipment, Christensen Farms, Miller Sellner, Schwartz Farms and Harvestland/AgQuest. This year there was two Platinum Level Sponsors—River Region and Edward Jones. These businesses supported FFA members for the State and National FFA Conventions, Leadership Conferences, new FFA Jackets for members, sponsorship of Chapter and Crop Show Awards, the Region Banquet and much more.

Each year, top scholar awards are presented to one active FFA member in each grade, who has the highest GPA in their respective class. These members received a plaque and a scholarship pin: freshman Kalli Christensen, sophomore Landon Strong, junior Kelsie Domeier and senior Sarah Rossbach.

The Honorary Chapter Degree award is presented to individuals who support the Sleepy Eye FFA in exceptional ways throughout the year. This year’s Honorary Chapter Degree was presented to Sam Domeier who is a huge supporter and promoter of the chapter. Domeier has helped out in the past several years with raising money for the Booster Club, and been a great help with the Advisory Board and Officer Election Committee.

Cunningham Seed Farms was presented with an Appreciation Award for 2017. They have donated seed for countless years for the crop show, as well as served as crop show judges.

The fruit sale was a successful fundraiser for our FFA Chapter this year. The top three sellers sold over $4,000 of products this past year: Jon Mickelson sold over $1,500 worth of items, Lane Trebesch had over $1,200 in sales and top junior high salesperson was McKenna Dockter with nearly $1,200 of products sold.

The leadership awards are presented to members who displayed leadership skills participated in numerous events. Freshman winners were Martina Nienhaus and Cali Rossbach. Sophomore winners were Macy Schenk and Paige Romberg. Junior winners were McKenzie Cselovszki, Karlie Ries and Parker Neid. Senior leadership award winners were Courtney Engholm, Colton Gemmill and Sarah Rossbach.

Phoenix Awards are presented each year to upcoming leaders. The winners—Lauren Klein, Clarissa Simonsen and Hanna Himmelman—got involved, got others involved, and showed true enthusiasm for the FFA.

The Star Greenhand 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 (SAE) program in place. This year’s Star Greenhand was Josh Nelson.

The Sophomore Achievement Award states, "Overall Success is Achieved through Hard Work and Dedication," and was presented to Cassidy Hoffmann. Josie Lang received the outstanding junior award—the Blue and Gold Award—which acknowledges overall achievement in the FFA.

The Star in Ag. Placement Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding placement SAE program (working for someone in production agriculture) and is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities. This year’s winner of Chapter Star in Ag. Placement was McKayla Aschenbrenner.

The Star Farmer Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding production SAE program and is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities. This year’s winner of Chapter Star Farmer was Isabella Portner.

The Star in Agribusiness Award is presented to a member who has an outstanding SAE program at a business and is involved in all areas of the chapter’s activities. Hunter Rose was named the Sleepy Eye FFA and Region VI Star in Agribusiness.

This year's recipient of the Dekalb Agricultural Accomplishment Award was Cassidy Hacker. This award is presented to the most outstanding senior in the areas of scholarship, leadership, and supervised agricultural experience.

The 2016-17 retiring FFA Officer Team was recognized for their exceptional efforts in leading the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter for the year and the banquet ended with installation of the 2017-18 FFA Officer Team.

“I want to give a special recognition to the team coaches and assistants—Jill Nelson, Ben Seifert, Nathan McMullen and Larry Baumgardt,” said FFA Advisor Mrs. Hoffmann. “With members competing in 18 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. Larry Baumgardt coached the State winning Poultry team! The Sleepy Eye FFA is about students developing leadership skills, experiencing personal growth, and serving the Sleepy Eye community. I am very proud of what the members of the Sleepy Eye chapter accomplished this year.”