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May 10, 2017
Grand Rapids FFA Makes History at 88th State FFA Convention

Grand Rapids FFA produced another strong convention in St.Paul April 23rd-25th by placing five career development teams in the top five and crowning another state champion. This convention was unique, however, producing its first ever Constitutional State FFA Officer from the Grand Rapids FFA Chapter history. 

Eleora DeMuth, a Grand Rapids FFA senior was elected to the 2017-2018 Minnesota State FFA Officer Team as the new state reporter. Eleora endured a two-day interview process with the nominating committee consisting of one member from each of Minnesota’s FFA eight regions.  Before the interview, she had to complete an officer application and be selected out of this pool of candidates. 18 members were selected an officer finalists. Eleora will be one of six officers leading the state membership of over 10,000 members across the state. Eleora will be responsible for directing several leadership camps throughout the year. She will be making many chapter visits throughout the state, as well as participating in the planning the annual state FFA convention.  Eleora will have the opportunity to meet with many agricultural stakeholders and universities from across Minnesota.  Eleora will participate with her team in an international agricultural tour to be determined. 

The Horse Evaluation team was crowned state champion for the second consecutive year and for the fourth time in the last ten years. The team consisted of Emma Tolrud, Megan Jylha, Kenzie Smith, and Emily Groom. Emma placed 5th individually in the state. This team will now represent Minnesota at the National FFA Horse Evaluation CDE event in Indianapolis, IN this October. 

Two teams had close calls with the state championship placing runner-up. These two teams were the Market Plan and Small Animals. The Market Plan team consisted of; Ashley Kortekaas, Sam Schultz, and Tara Schultz. The Small Animals team consisted of; Skylar Bell, Julie Anderson, Amanda
Fideldy, and Amanda Kuechle. Skylar placed eighth individually on the day. 

The other two teams placing in the top five in Minnesota were the Forestry and Wildlife. The Forestry team included; Carlee Wersal, Shae Atkinson, Brant Kortekaas, and Lars Pagel. Carlee placed fifth in the state this year. The Wildlife team included Collin Dibb, Grant Anderson, Beau Winkler, and Emily Hegrenes. 

The other career development teams in participation this year included; Meats, Floriculture, Agricultural Mechanics, and Best Informed Greenhand. Meats placed 13th in the state and the members included; Dylan Curtiss, Charlotte Langanki, Alayah Lane, and Sam Schultz. Floriculture placed 20th under the team who included; Ireland Palmer, Baily Hengel, Ashley Palmer, and Izzy VanOrsow. The Agricultural Mechanics team placed 22nd.
Thethree member included; Bradley Porter, Max Olson, and Kalvin Halvorson. The Best Informed Greenhand team placed 27th overall with team members including; Hannah Roth, Olivia McNeil, and Caleb Christianson. 

Grand Rapids FFA members were also involved in other activities at the 88th State FFA Convention. Tara Schultz placed 7th individually in the state Job Interview career development event. GRFFA members Austin Tatter and Jessica Stauffer qualified for the state FFA band and played alongside 48 other members.  
Zavior LeSarge served as our voting delegate as he attended business sessions being conducted.  

Special awards that were received at the FFA convention included 
the Minnesota FFA Degree, and Minnesota FFA Proficiency Awards. Austin Tatter, Ashley Palmer, and Emily Hegrenes received the State FFA Degree. This is the highest award given any member in Minnesota. It’s awarded to less than 1% of the members each year. Eleora Demuth, Ashley Palmer, and Emily Hegrenes won State Proficiency Awards. Eleora won first place in Equine Entrepreneurship moving on to nationals in addition to winning $250. Ashley placed second in Agricultural Processing and Emily placed third in Landscape Management. 

Out of the thirty-four students who participated in the career development events, there 
were a total of twenty-two members who placed in the top third in their contest individually. While seven more placed in the top half of their competition. Overall, GRFFA was hugely successfully in maintaining our tradition of quality student development.