Over 300 members, guests, school administrators, and business officials recently attended the Wauseon FFA chapter’s 86th Annual Awards Banquet.
First and foremost, the Honorary Chapter Degree recipients were recognized. These awards are bestowed upon community members who have made substantial efforts in advancing the FFA, though they are not members themselves. This year, degrees were awarded to Mr. and Mrs. Chris Rorick and the late Chad Spiess (parents of 2015-16 Wauseon FFA Chapter President Cody Spiess), Mrs. Bethany Schrock, and Mrs. Vicki Hanson.
Each student in the Senior Ag Business class introduced their employer and presented them with a plaque in recognition of their willingness to employ and work with the Class of 2016 FFA members. Throughout their high school career, the class cumulatively worked over 10,300 hours, donated over 400 hours of community service work, and grossed over $111,000 through their respective Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) projects.
Chapter Proficiency awards are awarded to members in recognition of their outstanding SAE programs. There are over 50 different proficiency award areas in the National FFA Organization. Awardees were: Julie Kahrs, vegetable production; Austin Schutte, agricultural mechanics and repair placement; Cory Johnson, outdoor recreation placement; Mac Warncke, swine production entrepreneurship; and Everett Bueter, landscape management placement.
Star awards were bestowed upon individuals in each grade level who exemplify the ideals of the FFA, have excellent participation in and out of the classroom, and who have an outstanding SAE program. The awardees were: 7th Grade – Ian Arps and Logan Richer; 8th Grade – Logan Blackman and Wyatt Blosser; Freshmen – Hannah Richer; Sophomores – Conner Johnson and Mac Warncke; Juniors – Elliott Bingham, Julie Kahrs, and Alex Pursel; Seniors – Abby Schmunk and Sara Rufenacht.
Degrees in FFA are earned by members who grow in their leadership abilities and progress in their academic and career skills development. The Wauseon FFA chapter also recognized degree earners of the 2015-16 academic year. This year, the chapter was ecstatic to develop a program for the seventh grade middle school classes to earn the Discovery Degree. These degree recipients were recognized at a previous meeting.
Greenhand Degrees were also awarded at a previous meeting to both eighth grade and freshmen students. The Chapter Degree is the highest degree a local chapter can award. Earning their Chapter Degrees were: Levi Arps, Everett Bueter, Taylor Caudill, Gavin Foote, Jacob Gillen, Conner Johnson, Cory Johnson, Jack Manz, Brady Neifer, Dalton Rice, Austin Schuette, Jacob Seiler, Jenna Simon, Dalton Sluder, Juan Smith, Alex Sosa, Hunter Thourot, Mac Warncke, Sean Waugh, and Kyle Zirkle.
The State Degree is awarded by the Ohio FFA Association. Those who earned this degree will be formally recognized at the 88th Ohio FFA State Convention, and were recognized for their hardwork and dedication to the program: Elliott Bingham, Emily Franklin, Garett Krasula, Cody Spiess, Grant Suntken, Claudia Weber, and Beth Yackee.
The American Degree is extremely rare, and can only be bestowed by the National FFA Organization. Joining the short list of recipients are Wauseon High School graduates Austin Arps and Sam Richer.
A unique award to the Wauseon FFA Chapter is the 110% Award. This can be awarded to any student in any grade level who demonstrates an exceptional effort in promoting the chapter’s goals and activities. The awardee must serve as a positive role model, possess a positive attitude, and and be willing to complete the little things behind the scenes. This year’s awardee is WHS senior Sara Rufenacht. In addition, she has been nominated for the Dekalb Award through Monsanto.
The Wauseon FFA Alumni presented the following outstanding college-bound Class of 2016 seniors with scholarships: Kallie Strauss and Emily Franklin, the DeAnn Women in Agriculture Scholarship; Sara Rufenacht, the James Spiess American Farmer Scholarship; and Mason Creager, Claudia Weber, and Abby Schmunk, the Wauseon FFA Chapter Scholarship.
After the retiring address from 2015-16 Chapter President Cody Spiess, and recognition of the 2015-16 officer team, the 2016-2017 Officer Team was installed. Officers are: Grant Suntken, president; Julie Kahrs, vice president; Kennedy Gebhart, secretary; Conner Johnson, treasurer; Cory Johnson, reporter; Mac Warncke, sentinel; and Hannah Richer, student advisor.