By Jennifer Kotila
HOWARD LAKE, WAVERLY, WINSTED, MN Jim Weninger, Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, has received numerous accolades and awards throughout the years, and the most recent will be an induction into the Minnesota FFA Hall of Fame Monday, April 29.
“It’s been a long time coming, Winnie getting inducted into the hall of fame,” said Pat Bakeberg, a HLWW FFA alumnus. “His list of accomplishments over the 29 years here at HLWW are never ending. He’s been a true friend and role model for me, along with all the other FFA members over the years.”
The 11 Hall of Fame inductees this year will join the 151 members who have been inducted in the past nine years, including the 75 inaugural members in 2004.
The FFA Hall of Fame is a collaborative effort between the Minnesota FFA Association, Alumni, and Foundation.
“The Hall of Fame is an excellent opportunity to honor the men and women who, over the years, have demonstrated leadership and commitment not only to the FFA, but also to Minnesota’s agriculture industry,” said Shawna Conrad, president of the MN FFA Association.
During his time at HLWW, Weninger has created an exceptional FFA program that places well in competitions in the state and at the national level.
“The HLWW FFA is a pillar among the community, school, and the state of Minnesota due to [Weninger’s] leadership the past 29 years,” said Seena Glessing, HLWW FFA advisor.
Part of Weninger’s success is his ability to connect with the students to which he is committed.
“Windog words can’t describe the type of teacher that he is,” said current HLWW FFA President Ethan Groos. “He’s formal, yet fun, and he’s truly a kid at heart. In the past four years of working with him, I’ve been able to see the tremendous impact he has on our school and students, and both are extremely positive.”
Final inductees into the hall of fame were selected by a committee of FFA members, alumni, agriculture educators, and foundation representatives.
The committee looks for individuals who have been influential and supportive of Minnesota FFA, demonstrating a high level of service and longstanding commitment to agriculture, agribusiness, and/or education in agriculture, said Mary Buuschette, co-chair of the MN FFA Hall of Fame committee.
“It is truly an honor to teach within the agriculture department at HLWW with Jim,” Glessing said. “His guidance and passion for agriculture, students, and the FFA are evident every single day. Jim’s drive to provide opportunities for all students to succeed in the FFA is contagious.”
The 2013 inductees were formally announced and recognized at the Minnesota FFA Alumni Association Annual Conference, which took place Feb. 16.
An induction ceremony will take place Monday, April 29 during the 84th State FFA Convention.
Other inductees for 2013 include:
• James Bartels, New Ulm
• Al Brudlie, Lewisville
• Bob Christensen (deseased), Sleepy Eye
• Lowell Gunderson, Ada
• Kristin Harmer, Northfield
• Kent Janssen, Sherburn
• Cliff Mitchell, Albany
• Lisa Moorhouse, Forest Lake
• Natasha Mortenson, Morris
• Steve Olson, Buffalo
“The HLWW FFA Alumni is proud to say that one of their own is in the State Hall of Fame. Congrats, Winnie,” Bakeberg said.