By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
A year that can only be described as historic was highlighted Saturday night at the annual Imperial FFA banquet and awards program.
The program, capping the 2014-15 school year of FFA events, also included induction of the chapter’s 2015-16 officer team.
In his remarks, Advisor Jeremy Vlasin pointed out some of the highlights of a year he called “historic.”
“I’ve always dreamed of coaching a team in the final four” at nationals, he said.
“It came through twice in one year.”
Vlasin, in his sixth year as ag teacher and FFA Advisor at CCS, coached both Imperial FFA’s parliamentary procedure and marketing plan teams at nationals, after both teams were the 2014 state champs.
It was the first time a Nebraska FFA team made the final four in parli pro and only the second marketing plan team from the state to make the final four.
Imperial was the first chapter to have two teams on the final four stage at the same national convention.
“I’d say we are an elite chapter across the country,” he said.
Not only was that noteworthy, he said, but several other events the past FFA year also made it a special one.
That included the chapter’s Pink-out fundraiser that brought in over $5,800 this year, for a four-year total that’s surpassed $15,000. Funds are used to help local cancer patients fight the disease.
The state convention also saw a junior high quiz bowl state champion, and it was a successful year for Imperial FFA member Blair Hartman who served as a state FFA vice president, Vlasin said.
He also expressed thanks to Frenchman Valley Coop for its strong support, which included picking up the tab for Saturday night’s meal.
Other thanks were given for support from the community and school administration, especially 7-12 Principal Mike Sorensen, Vlasin said, noting that Sorensen even spent time quizzing FFA members in preparation for nationals.
Vlasin said his goal is not just to win or be the best in the state always.
“It’s to help foster and create a family. It is so much more rewarding to celebrate as a family,” he said.
Advisor Speck presented each outgoing officer with a retiring plaques.
Speck also thanked the Young Farmers and Ranchers organization for the two scholarships is provides each year and its financial help in many areas.
Outgoing chapter president MaKenna Ketter, in her retiring address, encouraged FFA members to “live with no regrets.”
And that includes working hard to meet goals.
“I learned a lot of good things come from hard work. Every successful member here in this chapter worked hard,” she said.
She advised her peers to listen to their FFA advisors, coaches and other FFA members, and not to be afraid to fail.
“You learn from that,” she said.
Installation of the new officers concluded the evening.
The 2015-16 office team includes Taylor Wilson, president; Shaylee Dorn, vice president; Shaylee Heathers, secretary; Cade Francis, sentinel; Trace Helser, treasurer; Molly Luhrs, reporter; Eric Chavira, parliamentarian; and Dawn Castle, historian.
Blue and Gold Award
Marlon Kunnemann of Imperial earned the chapter’s Blue and Gold Award. Advisor Speck noted this is an award not given out every year.
Kunnemann has served as auctioneer for the FFA labor auction the past 31 consecutive years. With that long of a tenure, he is now “selling” a second generation of FFA members.
Kunnemann said he plans to continue in that role in the coming year.
He will receive a special plaque that includes parts of the FFA jacket embedded in it.
Here is the list of other awards presented that evening.
Certificates of Appreciation—Mike Sorensen, Chad and Trish Dorn, Lisa Schilke, Dillon Harchelroad, Doug and Tonya Wilson, Amy Prior, Tom Gaschler, Arlys Cupp, Kim Bubak, Marlon Kunnemann, Doug Dean, Randy Vlasin, Adam Vlasin, Julie Ferguson, Sue Knobbe, Frenchman Valley Coop, Brad Foote, Kathy Christensen, Doug and Keri Ohlson, John Sandquist, Willy O’Neil, Renae Bottom, Sara Winslow.
Scholarship Awards—Freshmen—Ryelee Christensen, Lauren Prior, Kayla Schilke, Hayley Vitosh, Ansley Wood. Sophomores—Shaylee Heathers, Molly Luhrs. Juniors—Taylor Wilson. Seniors—Mindy Castle, Jessica Hartman, MaKenna Ketter, Darin Knobbe.
1st Year High Point Award—Kayla Schilke.
2nd Year High Point Award—Cade Francis.
3rd Year High Point Award—Shaylee Dorn.
4th Year High Point Award—Jessica Hartman.
High Point Trip Winners—Jessica Hartman, Mindy Castle, MaKenna Ketter, Kayla Schilke, Darin Knobbe, Cade Francis, Dawn Castle, Lauren Prior, Hayley Vitosh, Emma Ferguson, Alternates—Shaylee Dorn, Travis Luhrs, Taylor Wilson, Kevin Chavira, Brady Gittlein.
Discovery Degrees—Megan Baird, Macy Coleman, Logan Mendenhall, Katie Richman, Ashley Bubak, Brooklyn Christensen, Taylor Jablonski.
Greenhands—Jade Allen, Ryelee Christensen, Joel DaMoude, Spencer Denbo, Emma Ferguson, Brady Gittlein, Whitney Hopp, Stevie Johnson, Jose Medrano, Andrea Page, Lauren Prior, Kayla Schilke, Blake Schilke, Amber Stumpff, Sydney Vetter, Ansley Wood, Molly Luhrs, Shaylee Heathers, Brandon Chavira.
Chapter Degrees—Dawn Castle, Cade Francis, Cody Denbo, Trace Helser, Molly Luhrs, Shaylee Heathers, Brandon Chavira.
Honorary Degrees—Reyes and Gaby Chavira, Tom and Lynn Luhrs, Larry and Susan Castle, Michael Sorensen.
Sylvia Large Memorial Effort Award—Jessica Hartman.
Loral Johnson Creed Speaking—Hayley Vitosh.
Dekalb Achievement Award—Jessica Hartman.
Eunice Speck Memorial Courage Award—Shaylee Dorn.
Net Worth Award—Kevin Chavira.
Judy Hartman Outstanding Senior Officer—Mindy Castle.
Kathryn Cross Memorial Workhorse Award—MaKenna Ketter, Mindy Castle, Jessica Hartman and Shaylee Dorn.
Star Greenhand—Emma Ferguson.
Most Improved Greenhand—Jose Medrano.
Labor auction —Sonya Burpo, most paid for pie; Frenchman Valley Coop, highest bid and most money spent on purchases.
Blue and Gold Award—Marlon Kunnemann.
Imperial Young Farmers and Ranchers—Scholarships.
Carolyn Lee and Jan Schultz—Imperial Republican Newspaper.
Casey Francis—Banquet meal.