Holyoke’s 2017 American FFA degree recipients are pictured from left, Nicholas Ortner, Sidney Struckmeyer, Josilyn Lutze and Austin Vieselmeyer. — Johnson Publications file photo
4 earn American FFA Degree
The 90th National FFA Convention & Expo was held in Indianapolis, Indiana, Oct. 25-28, and 11 members of the Holyoke chapter of FFA joined over 67,000 in attendance. Holyoke FFA alumni Josilyn Lutze, Nicholas Ortner, Sidney Struckmeyer and Austin Vieselmeyer were recognized for earning the American FFA Degree, and Wyatt McCallum was a national Agricultural Proficiency Awards finalist.
Those in attendance at the national convention included Wyatt McCallum,Corben McCallum. Tobin Moore, Cash Adler, Xander Speicher, Lauren Bergner, Jillian Hunter, Taylor Hendrix, Kaitlyn Kent, Rebecca Owens and Tristen Roll, with adviser Shauna Brown.
The 2017 American FFA Degree ceremony was held at the convention, where 4,068 members, hailing from all 46 state FFA associations, received the degree. That includes 59 from Colorado and four from the Holyoke chapter. Though unable to attend the ceremony, Lutze, Ortner, Struckmeyer and Vieselmeyer broke an eight-year span without a Holyoke recipient.
Eligibility requirements for the American FFA Degree are lengthy, and it is the highest degree than can be earned. For starters, 2017 applicants must have graduated from high school by 2016 and maintained at least a C average. They must have been an active member of FFA for the last three years and have earned the Greenhand, Chapter and State FFA degrees, as well as completed the equivalent of three years of agriculture classes.
Applicants must have completed an outstanding Supervised Agricultural Experience program — either placement or entrepreneurship. Through an SAE, students exhibit comprehensive planning and managerial and financial expertise. They must also have earned at least $10,000 and productively invested $7,500 or earned and productively invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of scheduled class time.
Having also completed at least 50 hours of community service — in addition to the SAE — students can apply for the American FFA Degree.
Holyoke’s four 2017 recipients were honored at the May 5 FFA banquet and awards program at HHS for receiving the degree.
Lutze is a 2016 graduate of HHS. She completed a placement SAE at Lutze Farms, as well as showing market swine and market lambs. She is currently a sophomore at Colby Community College in Colby, Kansas, where she is studying agriculture education. She is the daughter of Mark and Mendi Lutze.
Ortner is a 2015 HHS graduate, and his entrepreneurship SAE was in swine production. He is a 2017 graduate of Northeastern Junior College, with an associate degree in ag business and animal science. He is the son of Tim and Marianne Ortner and is currently working at the family farm.
Struckmeyer is a 2016 graduate of HHS. He completed an entrepreneurship SAE in beef production and a placement at Struckmeyer Hereford. He is currently a sophomore at LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, where he is majoring in materials joining engineering. He is the son of Damon and Pam Struckmeyer.
Vieselmeyer is a 2016 HHS graduate and a freshman at Butler Community College in El Dorado, Kansas, where he is studying agriculture education and animal science. He completed a beef production entrepreneurship SAE and served as a state FFA officer in 2016-17. He is the son of Brent and Tina Vieselmeyer.
While at the national convention, 2017 HHS graduate Wyatt McCallum was one of only four students chosen from across the nation to interview for the chance to be a national Agricultural Proficiency Awards winner.
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