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Crofton FFA Members GO ALL OUT at 87th National FFA Convention!

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Nearly 65,000 FFA members, Advisors and guests descended upon Louisville, Kentucky last week to take part in the 87th National FFA Convention!  The theme for the convention was “Go All Out!”  Eighteen FFA members from Crofton as well as Crofton Agricultural Education Instructor and FFA Advisor, Stephanie Mann; and Kristi Steffen, chaperone, were among the masses in Louisville.  One of the highlights of the trip included the Stars over America program, which included Travis Poppe, American Star Finalist in Agricultural Placement.   According to the National FFA Website at www.ffa.org, “The American Star Awards represent the best of the best among thousands of American FFA Degree recipients.” FFA members are recognized for their outstanding agricultural skills and competencies through supervised agricultural experience (SAE) programs.  In addition, members had to have earned the American FFA Degree.  Those selected must have also have met strict agricultural education, leadership and scholarship requirements.  Travis works for his family’s farm, Poppe Farms, where he manages swine and cattle and operates the diversified crop production of corn and soybeans.  He was one of only four FFA members from across the nation to be selected for this high honor!  As parents of an American Star Finalist, Alan and Donna Poppe were awarded the Honorary American Degree during the convention.

Travis was one of three Crofton FFA members to earn the American FFA Degree this year at the convention.  Henry Goeden, son of Rod and Ruth Goeden; and Wesdon Wortmann, son of Kenny and Dana Wortmann, also earned the highest degree that can be bestowed upon FFA members.  To earn the American Degree, members keep extensive records related to their SAE, must exhibit outstanding leadership qualities and have previously earned the State FFA Degree.  Less than one percent of FFA members each year earn the American FFA degree.   

Another highlight was the 10th place Gold earned by Crofton FFA members in the Environmental and Natural Resources Career Development Event.  The National FFA Environmental and Natural Resources CDE is a competitive event that allows students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. This event focuses on testing students' problem solving and decision making skills in environmental and natural resources. These areas concentrate on soil profiles, water and air quality, waste management, environmental analysis, and use of global positioning units. The Crofton team earned the right to compete by winning the state competition in the spring.  The event, held at Publisher's Press in Lebanon Junction and Kentucky Exposition Center, was one of many educational activities at the national convention in which FFA members practiced the lessons learned in agricultural education classes.  Team members representing Nebraska included Colton Foxhoven, Jacob Kaiser, Tyler Koch and Jazmin Wubben.  Individually, Jacob and Jazmin earned gold medals and Colton and Tyler earned silver medals.

Entertaining the thousands in attendance was the National FFA Band and Chorus.  Among the 80 chorus members selected from across the nation was Cole Steffen.  These young men and women are some of the most gifted FFA members in the entire organization.  On Saturday before the start of the convention, the band and chorus began preparing for the eleven amazing performances throughout the week.       

When not in competitions, Crofton FFA members attended sessions, leadership workshops, awards banquets, the largest Agricultural career show and college fair and educational tours to the Louisville Slugger Factory and Museum, Churchill Downs – home of the Kentucky Derby and the Kentucky Derby Museum.  The four days were packed with education and excitement and there was no down time.  The 88th National FFA Convention will again be held in Louisville, Kentucky.  Indianapolis, Indiana will be the site of the 89th, 90th and 91st National FFA Conventions in 2016, 2017 and 2018.  It will continue to rotate every three years between Louisville and Indianapolis.