Sunday, April 23, was a bright sunny day. That afternoon, 19 FFA students boarded a warm short bus to make the trek to the FFA State Convention.
Four of them disembarked soon after arrival to begin practicing with the state band and chorus and split to go to their respective parts of the buildings; in order to participate in either band or chorus, each of these students filled out an application and attached a recommendation from their director for consideration.
Kaitlyn McCracken and Teagan Dvorak were two members from throughout the state of Minnesota to be selected for this honor; they spent many hours practicing for their concerts during the convention, featuring songs such as “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the movie Trolls and “Lava” from the Disney Pixar short Lava, which played before Inside Out.
While Kaitlyn and Teagan sang their hearts out, Jordana Schutte and Emma Dettmann put together their instruments and practiced with the band students; their band songs on the docket included “St. Thomas”, originally by Sonny Rollins, and “Brown Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison. While these four were kept busy by music, the other members found the hotel and prepared for their contests the next day.
Bright and early the next morning, the FFA members donned their blue jackets and other official dress items and gathered their No. 2 pencils and scantrons for the contests ahead.
After a breakfast by the poolside, they boarded the bus once more to be dropped on the University of Minnesota campus for their contests. They quickly wished each other luck and dispersed like ripples on a pool, armed only with their teams and maps.
Once contests had concluded, some members took a bus back with Sibley East while others stayed on campus in anticipation for the session that evening. This session featured retiring addresses from State FFA officers as well as performances by the band and choir. It was a late night for all and they waited in eager anticipation of the next day where they would receive their results.
The next morning was another early one for a few FFA members who took the bus back to the University of Minnesota. Several members attended educational workshops and at an awards session, NYA was recognized for the Land of Service program, True Friend/Camp Courage donation, and contributing to the Minnesota FFA Foundation.
Once the morning had passed, the members ate some pizza and awaited the results eagerly which would be given out after the last session, featuring another performance by the choir and band. Then the 3-day convention came to an end and members finally saw their results.
One of the newest teams, Floriculture (an event consisting of judging and identifying flora), consisted of Emma Klaustermeier, Abbie Weckman, Lizzie Perez, and Mya Perez. The team did very well, earning a bronze overall; Klaustermeier even earned a silver individually.
Next up, the Milk Quality (formerly called Dairy Foods) team of Emma Dettmann, Jordana Schutte, and Natasha Christianson found their feet at the contest, earning bronze as a team. Malaya Weekly also qualified for the state event, but due to prior commitments, she was unable to attend. Schutte earned a silver for NYA and Dettmann grabbed a gold.
The General Livestock team of Audrey Steinhagen, Samantha Schoenbauer, Madelyn Traver, and Abby Pysick did very well and earned a silver as a team. The NYA FFA is also very proud of NYA officer Audrey Steinhagen who earned 10th place individually as well as Schoenbauer and Traver who earned silver at the contest.
The returning Fish and Wildlife team, with Kaitlyn McCracken, Victoria Simons, Teagan Dvorak, and Sean Weckman, did very well and obtained another bronze for NYA. Simons also got a silver individually, and Kaitlyn McCracken finished just outside the top 10, earning 11th place and a gold individually.
Last, but certainly not least, the NYA Dairy Cattle Judging team earned a spot on the stage for their work for the fifth year in a row.
The team consisted of four Caleb, Cadee, Collin, and Canton Vinkemeier. They earned a plaque, gold, and third place as a team out of 64 teams. Additionally, Caleb Vinkemeier earned third individually, and the entire team earned gold individually as well.
The NYA FFA had a very successful convention this year and is very proud of all who participated, whether in contests or in the music events. We would like to thank Sibley East for providing transportation for some students and for all those who have supported NYA FFA in the past. We can’t wait to see what happens next year and this summer. See you at the pork burger stand.
Written by chapter reporter Emma Dettmann