By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
Imperial FFA is represented this week at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis by two American FFA Degree recipients, 13 high school members and FFA Advisors Jason Speck and Jeremy Vlasin.
The group flew out of Denver Wednesday, and will be attending convention activities through Saturday.
The Oct. 20-23 convention is the organization’s 83rd annual and is following the theme, “Infinite Potential.” There are 55,000 FFA members from across the country expected for the convention activities.
Swanson is at the convention this week in a dual role. In addition to receiving the American Degree, he is also halfway through his year as a Nebraska FFA vice president, one of seven on the state officer team after being elected this spring.
He’s a sophomore at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where his major is pre-med with an emphasis on forensic science. His high school Supervised Ag Experience (SAE) Program involved employment at Hills’ Family Foods, and he has worked some part-time hours while in college. He is the son of Troy and Melda Musick of Champion, and graduated from Chase County Schools in 2009.
Schilke, Imperial’s other American FFA Degree recipient, has an SAE that included employment at both Owens’ True Value and Frenchman Valley Coop while in high school. She was a 2008 CCS graduate.
Schilke earned her Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN) degree earlier this year from Western Nebraska Community College in Scottsbluff. She is working on her Bachelor of Science Nursing (BSN) Degree and is employed at a nursing home in Chappell. She is the daughter of John and Theresa Schilke of Imperial.
Swanson and Schilke were both Imperial FFA officers while in high school.
Advisor Speck noted the requirements for the American FFA Degree include an accumulated $7,500 earned and invested through their SAE, along with involvement in the FFA chapter and at least 10 other non-FFA activities.
Starting next year, both the state and American FFA Degrees will require 50 hours of community service, too, Speck noted.
The Imperial chapter does not have any teams or individuals competing in the competitions at nationals this year, but will be attending workshops and speaker sessions all week.
After the convention events, the Imperial group will take the 100-mile trip to Louisville, Ky., for a tour of the Derby Museum and other sites.
High school members of Imperial FFA attending the national convention this week include Calen Griffin, Kevin German, Perry Vetter, Carolina Ramos, Andrea Hogsett, Blair Hartman, Makala Bartels, Kaycee Bubak, Abbi Vetter, Ashlin Bussell, Elizabeth Tomky, Kelsey Wood and Jenna Schilke.
The chapter is able to take students to the national convention thanks to two major fund-raisers each year, the chapter’s labor auction and fruit sales. The FFA members attending pay about a third of the costs to attend, too, Speck said.