|Holyoke FFA members honored at annual achievement ceremony|
|Written by Holyoke Enterprise|
Holyoke’s FFA chapter gathered on Tuesday, May 12 for their annual awards ceremony in the HHS auditorium. Members were recognized for their efforts and achievements throughout the year.
Local chapter awards were presented as well as those for district and state contest. Appreciation was also noted for those who have supported the chapter this year.
Greenhand FFA degrees were awarded to Reid Baumgartner, Laura Gerk, Erin Lebsack, Coleton Spitz, Mariah Struckmeyer, Brent Vasa, Marissa Smith, Preston King and Sarah Heermann.
Reid Baumgartner was selected for this year’s Star Greenhand award for being the first-year member who is most active in the chapter, who demonstrates leadership and who has a strong supervised agricultural experience program.
Recipients of the Chapter FFA Degree include Skyler Dittmer, Perry Garrett, Emma Adams, Dustin Carrick, Patricia Adams, Molly Fricke, Janna Smith and Brian Strong.
The Star Chapter Farmer award, presented to a second-year student who shows outstanding leadership and progressive agricultural skills, was awarded to Janna Smith.
Honorary FFA degrees were awarded to parents who have made outstanding contributions to the chapter. Recipients of the honor were Jeff and Theresa Tharp, Casey and Hollie Gerk and Rich and Yolanda Wittman.
Holyoke Vet Service and STC Corp. were presented with certificates of appreciation for the donation of their time, services and that extra boost of support for the Holyoke FFA chapter.
Senior Austin Tharp was honored with the DeKalb award. This award is often considered the highest honor an agricultural student can receive on the local level. Each year a senior FFA member receives the DeKalb award for excelling in scholarship, leadership and their supervised agricultural experience program.
Additional awards presented during the evening were:
Top Fruit Sales award—Janna Smith.
Notebook award—Erin Lebsack.
Top student awards—Molly Fricke, animal science; Austin Tharp, ag mechanics; and Brett Gerk, ag welding.
Leadership awards—Erin Lebsack and Sarah Heermann.
Scholarship awards—Laura Gerk and Molly Fricke.
Students who participated in the speaking contest at the Fall District Leadership Meeting were honored for their accomplishments. Results are as follows:
Janna Smith, prepared speaking, silver; and Mariah Struckmeyer, creed speaking, gold.
Award winners at the state judging contest included:
Horse judging—Coleton Spitz, blue; Sarah Heermann, red; Patricia Adams, white; and the team of Coleton Spitz, Sarah Heermann, Patricia Adams and Janna Smith, silver.
State FFA officer and former HHS student Elisa Sagehorn addressed the members. She commended Holyoke FFA for its efforts and accomplishments this year. Relating experiences from the national convention and state career development event, she invited members to the upcoming state conference in June.
Normally the chapter would install new officers at the ceremony, but considering advisor Mike Miller’s resignation, he chose to have the new advisor take part in the selection process. Miller awarded plaques to this year’s officer team.
Closing with an emotional speech, Miller thanked members and parents for their support during his 15 years with Holyoke FFA. He recalled many great memories from past FFA events and ended with, “It’s been a pretty good ride.”