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FFA Members Shine in Virtual Awards Ceremony


May 20, 2020

On May 7, the Chinook FFA Chapter held its 2020 FFA Banquet in a virtual format. During the video conference program, multiple awards were presented, accomplishments recognized, new members graduated into the Chapter, and another slate of officers installed to ensure that the traditions of the FFA are carried on.

After the traditional meeting opening, led by President Alyssa Gruszie, the Chapter honored its senior members: Alyssa Gruszie, Jase Pursley, Rielly Wiegand, Kurtis Hamilton, Shane Friede, Saige Olmstead, and Kendra McMaster.

Following the celebration of those distinguished honorees, Chapter Reporter Rebecca Stroh announced various additional awards. Fundraising Awards went to members whose initiative helped to advance the goals of the Chapter. Madilyn Grusize won both the Jerky Sales and Fruit Sales awards and Kendra McMaster won top honors in Chocolate Sales.

Next on the meeting’s agenda were Member Achievements, a segment during which various members were recognized for their individual successes:

• Aislinn Handy: District Leadership School, FFA Test, Parliamentary Procedure (Parli Pro)

• Grace Buck: District Leadership School, Ag Mechanics, Quiz Bowl

• Jacob Metcalf: District Leadership School, Livestock

• Layla Jungers: Livestock

• Madilyn Gruszie: District Leadership School, Livestock, FFA Test

• Ryley Hofeldt: District Leadership School, Range, Livestock, FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro

• Wylee Simenson: FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro

• Ben LaVelle: Sales, FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro, Mechanics

• Bree Swanson: District Leadership School, Junior Employment, Junior Horse Judging, Junior Livestock, FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro

• Christopher Jungers: FFA Test, Mechanics

• Morgan Friede: Range Days, FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro

• Ryan Meneely: District Leadership School, Livestock, Mechanics

• Torin Cercle: FFA Test, Junior Parli Pro

• Patrick McMaster: Ag Mechanics, Farm Business Management, Quiz Bowl

• Shyla Benzing: Livestock, Horse Judging

• Stacie Liddle: Livestock

• Austin Swanson: Ag Mechanics, Farm Business Management, Parli Pro

• Brittney Cox: Livestock, Horse Judging

• Rebecca Stroh: Livestock, Horse Judging, Poultry, Parli Pro

• Alyssa Gruszie: Livestock, Meats Evaluation, Quiz Bowl, Parli Pro

• Jase Pursley: Range Days, Sales, Parli Pro

• Kurtis Hamilton: District Leadership School, Livestock, Sales, Ag Mechanics, Parli Pro

• Rielly Wiegand: District Leadership School, Livestock, Range, Horse Judging, Meats Evaluation, Parli Pro, Mechanics

• Saige Olmstead: Sales, Horse Judging, Livestock

• Shane Friede: Livestock, Ag Mechanics, Farm Business Management

Leadership awards followed those presentations. The Star Discovery Leadership Award went to eighth grader Aislinn Handy. This medal is given to the seventh or eighth grade member who has been most active and exhibited noteworthy leadership.

Another Star Farmer Award Level was attained by Torin Cecrle, who was named Star Greenhand. As the Chinook Chapter’s most active first-year member with a strong supervised agricultural experience (SAE), Cecrle also demonstrated leadership.

In other leadership designations, Shyla Benzing was named Outstanding Sophomore, while Brittney Cox won Outstanding Junior and Alyssa Gruszie won Outstanding Senior recognition.

Proficiency Awards in Beef Production were presented to Ryan Meneely, Torin Cecrle, Brittney Cox, Morgan Friede, Ethan Liddle, Jase Pursley, and Austin Swanson.

In addition, Brittney Cox, Rebecca Stroh, and Saige Olmstead were honored with Equine Science Proficiency Awards from the National FFA Organization; while Molly Halingstad won a Proficiency Award in Agricultural Communications; Ben LaVelle won his in Grain Production, and Kurtis Hamilton and Christopher Jungers both secured theirs in Agricultural Mechanics Design and Fabrication.

In order to qualify for these Chapter Proficiencies, the members were expected to keep work experience records in their proficiency area through the Ag Experience Tracker, an online record keeping system. Updated weekly, these records maintain a log of hours worked, skills learned, and finances accrued and expended.

SAE Awards followed, with Christopher Jungers winning recognition for Chapter Ag Placement and Brittney Cox winning Chapter Star Farmer.

Seventeen members met the criteria to letter or receive a pin. The requirements to letter are based upon a points system. Once a member has earned sufficient points through involvement in various FFA activities, he or she is eligible to letter. The member must also maintain a satisfactory academic record. Ben LaVelle, Torin Cecrle, Morgan Friede, Christopher Jungers, and Bree Swanson received Letters.

Receiving pins were Ethan Liddle, Austin Swanson, Shyla Benzing, Halle Mitchell, Stacie Liddle, Brittney Cox, Rielly Wiegand, Alyssa Gruszie, Kendra McMaster, Rebecca Stroh, Kurtis Hamilton, and Jase Pursley.

Secretary Jase Pursley then announced that six members had applied for and earned their FFA Discovery Degrees to become new members of the Chapter: Madilyn Gruszie, Grace Buck, Addison Olsen, Jenna Liddle, Layla Jungers, and Jacob Metcalf.

To these Discovery Degree candidates, FFA Advisor Robin Allen said: “Today, you take the first step in an exciting journey. FFA can provide you with experiences that will set a foundation for success that will carry you throughout your life. I challenge you to grasp all the opportunities offered, and I wish you every success in that journey.”

In the next item of business, Pursley announced five qualifying candidates for the Chapter FFA Degree: Shyla Benzing, Stacie Liddle, Halle Mitchell, Ethan Liddle, and Patrick McMaster.

As these winning candidates were conferred with their degrees, President Gruszie recited: “The pin symbolizing the Chapter FFA Degree is made of silver. Just as there are metals more precious than silver, there are more precious laurels to be won in our organization. The golden charm of the State FFA Degree and the golden key of the American FFA Degree await those who earn them. It is our hope that you reach these higher goals in our organization. I am pleased to present each of you with the silver pin of the Chapter FFA Degree.”

At State Convention later this month, four Chinook FFA members will receive their state degrees. The State Degree is the highest honor a state association can bestow upon its members. This degree is based on FFA Activities, SAEs and Community Service. Jase Pursley, Rielly Wiegand, Kurtis Hamilton, and Alyssa Gruszie will be recognized as State Degree recipients.

During the National Convention this past fall in Indianapolis, Indiana, two members of the Chinook FFA were awarded the American Degree. For productively investing more than $10,000 in their SAEs and volunteering in the community at least fifty hours, Colton Liddle and Hallie McMaster were again recognized for earning the American Degree, the highest honor an FFA member can earn.

Regarding this show of success, Advisor Robin Allen felt it was important to close out the FFA year with a celebration, despite the social distancing guidelines that prohibit large gatherings. “The officers did a great job of pre-recording all the segments so we could finish the year with a video and get a sense of closure.”

The virtual awards ceremony closed after the installation of officers for the 2020-2021 year:

• Sentinel: Torin Cecrle

• Reporter: Ben LaVelle

• Treasurer: Christopher Jungers

• Secretary: Bree Swanson

• Vice President: Morgan Friede

• President: Rebecca Stroh

Retiring President Gruszie wished these officers a year of service marked by integrity, dedication, and cooperative spirit. “Seek harmony among your fellow officers and set high standards of leadership for all chapter members,” she said.

Just before adjourning, Secretary Pursley made a series of announcements:

• On May 20th and 21st, the State Officers will be conducting a virtual convention. This will include Career and Leadership Development Event announcements, State Degree recognition, Star and Proficiency announcements, retiring addresses and many other things that a ‘normal’ convention features. Please be on the lookout for a convention schedule and posts on social media.

• Remaining Career Development Event (CDE) contests will take place the week of May 26.

• Check the FFA Googleclassroom page for updates about Alumni Leadership Camp, Range Day, the Blaine County Cruise, and the Blaine County Fair.

• Our next meeting is Tuesday, June 2 at 7:00 p.m. via Zoom.


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