BY STARRLA CRAY
Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District’s FFA participants had another sweet year at state, taking home several prestigious awards last Monday.
“We’re awesome,” FFA member Kaitlyn Decker said.
The chapter was named among the top 10 in the state overall, and was also recognized for service hours, ag literacy, Hunger Heroes, and student development.
First-place teams at HLWW included floriculture (Jenna Benson, Savanna Weber, Amanda Olson, and Keith Lent) and parliamentary procedure (Keith Lent, Gabriell Bayerl, Madeline “Maddie” Weninger, Lauren Painschab, and Kaitlyn Decker).
“When they said we had won, we freaked out,” Maddie said. “There were a lot of tears shed for both floriculture and parliamentary procedure.”
These teams will advance to the National FFA Convention Oct. 19-22 in Indianapolis, IN. (The Best Informed Greenhand team at HLWW, which earned second-place, may compete at nationals, as well.)
Maddie received first place in the “job interview” category for career development, and would have had an opportunity to advance to nationals, but since students can only advance in one event, she chose to stay with her parliamentary procedure team.
“I feel so blessed to have won all these contests,” she said.
Maddie had some extra encouragement to do well in the job interview contest, since she made a deal with her dad (FFA advisor Jim “Winnie” Weninger) that he’d buy her a bonsai tree if she won first place.
The parliamentary procedure team also had a side deal with Winnie, who agreed to buy Fitbits for the team if they won.
Maddie said she already has a Fitbit, and uses it to help keep time during the 10.5-minute contests.
“For every second you go over, you’re docked two points,” she said. “That is always the hardest part for us.”
In floriculture, the team had a deal with FFA advisor Seena Glessing that she’d buy each member their favorite plant.
Thoughts from Princess Kay
At the beginning of the convention, participants were greeted by Princess Kay of the Milky Way Kyla Mauk, who was active in FFA before she graduated from HLWW High School in 2014.
“FFA is so great, because everyone has the opportunity to find their own niche and run with it,” she said. “The lessons I’ve learned, life skills I’ve made, and the deeper commitment to my morals and values have helped me find my own place.”
State FFA competitors for Career Development Events (CDE) this year for the HLWW district included:
• Best Informed Greenhand: Nathan Heuer, Brock Bangasser, Elizabeth Ahrens, Alexis Meuleners, Elizabeth Meuleners, TJ Kittock, Courtney Long, and Cullen Huston
• Novice Parliamentary Procedure: TJ Kittock, Nate Heuer, Courtney Long, Lanney Loebertmann, Alexis Meuleners, and Brock Bangasser
• Dairy Evaluation: Lanney Loebertmann, Luke Groos, Nicole Baumann, and Joe Gallus
• Poultry Evaluation: Jacob Gallus, Morgan Frank, Cullen Huston, and Nic Czanstkowski
• Nursery/Landscape: Bella Bayerl, Kylee Sherod, Naomi Hinojos, and Lauren Painschab
• Forestry: Melissa Kirby, Karissa Kulinski, and Donavon Decker
• Floriculture: Keith Lent, Amanda Olson, Jenna Benson, and Savanna Weber
• Parliamentary Procedure: Maddie Weninger, Gabriell “Bella” Bayerl, Amanda Olson, Keith Lent, Lauren Painschab, and Kaitlyn Decker
• Milk Quality: Sabrina Paul, Lexi McAlpine, Joslyn Munson, and R’Mani Stelflug
• Fish & Wildlife: Cody Utne, Chris Ahrens, Josh Hausladen, and Connor Huston
• Farm Business Management: Maddie Weninger, Matthew Montgomery, Brook Lorenson, and Hannah Scherping
• Small Aniimals: Lacey Babbatz, Ashley Farnick, Elaina St. George, and Hayden Lonetti
• Crops: Alex Bestul, Max Kittock, Elizabeth Meuleners, and Wyatt Frank
• Meats: Cody Duenow, Braden Stokes,Blake Posch, and Kaleb Bakeberg
• Job Interview: Maddie Weninger
• FFA Choir: Lauren Krummel and Arianna Higgins
• FFA Band: Amber Gunderson
• Abbey Weninger interviewed for a state officer position.