Seventeen Sleepy Eye FFA Members attended the national convention in Indianapolis last week.

More than 65,000 student leaders swarmed in Indianapolis, Ind. at the 91st National FFA Convention, from Oct. 23 to 27. The streets were flooded with blue jackets as students spread the message of agriculture, learned about leadership and service, competed in rigorous career development events, and met fellow FFA members from across the nation.

Students were exposed to an agricultural based career expo, heard dynamic speakers, and were inspired by energetic and motivating general sessions at the largest annual student convention in the country.

Seventeen Sleepy Eye FFA Members attended the national convention including: Cassidy Hacker, Parker Neid, Isaac Nelson, Morgan Hoffmann, Abby Hoffmann, McKenna Dockter, Isabel Martinez, Crystal Hecht, Trey Heidersheidt, Trisha Ludewig, Clara Lemarr, Maddison Helget, Millicent Sorenson, Jack Schroepfer, Josh Nelson, Mike Ludewig and Logan Mickelson. Chaperones for the trip included advisors Nathan McMullen and Mary Hoffmann, and Donavan Phoenix, 2018 Summer Ag. Ed. Intern.

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter had three national proficiency finalists, Isaac Nelson, Cassidy Hacker, and Parker Neid. Isaac Nelson was named the National Winner for the Dairy Production Entrepreneurship Proficiency Award. Nelson earned two plaques and $1,000 in prize money. This is the third year in a row that a member of the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter has won this National Proficiency Award.

Cassidy Hacker was named runner up for the National Specialty Animal Proficiency Award. She was awarded with a plaque and $500. Parker Neid was named runner up for the National Ag. Mechanics Design and Fabrication Proficiency Award. He was awarded with a plaque and $500.

Nelson, Hacker, and Neid were each one of only four people chosen to compete for their specific award areas at nationals during the 91st National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis. The proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agriculture. The members became eligible for the national award after winning the Minnesota state FFA competition earlier this year. During convention, each presented a two-minute opening statement and then were asked numerous questions in a 15-minute interview. On Friday of convention, the winners were announced on stage at the 6th Session of the National FFA Convention.

Ten Sleepy Eye FFA members competed in the National Quiz Bowl Contest during National Convention week. The Quiz Bowl Contest consists of taking a 100-question knowledge test on the history and current information of the FFA.

The National Junior Quiz Bowl team 1, consisting of Trey Heiderscheidt, Morgan Hoffmann, and Maddison Helget, placed ninth out of 32 teams. Trey was the high scorer, earning 24th out of 107 individuals.

The National Junior Quiz Bowl team 2, consisting of McKenna Dockter, Trisha Ludewig, and Clara Lemarr, placed 17th out of 32 teams. McKenna was the top scorer on team 2.

The National Senior Quiz Bowl team, consisting of Abby Hoffmann, Crystal Hecht, Isabel Martinez, and Millicent Sorenson, placed 20th out of 49 teams. The top scorer on the Senior team was Abby.

During Convention, the Sleepy Eye FFA was named a Three Star National Chapter for growing leaders, building communities, and strengthening agriculture activities that the Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter highlighted in their National Chapter Award application. Three stars is the highest ranking out of 1, 2, or 3 stars being awarded by National FFA. This year, 11 chapters in Minnesota received the highest Three Star ranking. Officers Abby Hoffmann and McKenna Dockter accepted this award on behalf of the chapter.

The Sleepy Eye FFA Chapter had one American FFA Degree Recipient — Sabrina Portner. This is the highest award bestowed upon an FFA member.

In addition to attending the FFA Convention, members were also given the opportunity to attend several tours, including: Fair Oaks Farm, Churchill Downs, Louisville Slugger, and Glassworks. Members learned about various aspects of agriculture and industry, from traditional to nontraditional, while on these tours. The convention also featured a country music concert by Garth Brooks, as well as a World’s Toughest Rodeo.

While at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, several of the Sleepy Eye FFA members took time to work behind the scenes at the KNUJ Media Booth. They assisted Jim Bartels in interviewing different FFA Chapters around the state of Minnesota about their convention experiences and FFA activities.

The Sleepy Eye group who volunteered included: Isabel Martinez, Morgan Hoffmann, Abby Hoffmann, Trey Heiderscheidt, McKenna Dockter, Maddison Helget, Crystal Hecht, and Trisha Ludewig. Eleven members also interviewed on the radio about their own experiences and activities they are participating in for FFA.

“I am so very proud of all of the members who attended and competed at nationals,” said advisor Mary Hoffmann. “They worked very hard to achieve their level of success and it was extremely exciting to see them do so well. Less than one percent of the FFA members in the nation earn the opportunity to compete at the National Level and having a three-peat in the Dairy Proficiency was unbelievable. What an elite group to be a part of!”

“We also want to thank our Sleepy Eye Ag. Boosters, local businesses, and the Sleepy Eye School District for supporting our National Competitors and Sleepy Eye FFA National Convention Delegates,” said Advisor Nathan McMullen. “Without their support, many of our members would not have had the funds to attend the convention. We truly appreciate their contributions to helping our members learn about career opportunities, leadership, and service.”