A former Tekamah-Herman ag student has become the school’s first national FFA proficiency winner.
Anders Olson named the winner in his proficiency area, Agriculture Sales—Placement, during the organization’s 84th national convention held Oct. 19-22 in Indianapolis.
Under the guidance of Don Wallace, the Tekamah-Herman FFA chapter has forwarded more than a dozen national finalists. Olson is the first national champion.
Olson also was presented with the highest award a member can earn, the American Degree. Less than one-half of one percent of all the FFA members in the country achieve the American Degree
Proficiency awards recognize outstanding student achievement in agribusiness gained through establishment of a new business, working for an existing company, or otherwise gaining hands-on career experience. There are 47 proficiency program areas FFA members can participate in to develop valuable experience and leadership skills at the local, state and national levels.
Ag Sales—Placement is sponsored by Fastenal and Vigortone Ag Products as a special project of the national FFA Foundation.
Olson said it also is a very competitive area. He said he was notified in July he was a national finalist.
At the convention each of the four finalists gives a two-minute speech about their proficiency to a panel of 15 judges and sit through a 15-minute interview.
Then they wait.
“You have to wait a whole day. It’s very nerve wracking,” Olson said. “You have too much time to nitpick about every little thing you did.”
Then comes the announcement.
“I kind of fell forward. I didn’t know what to think,” he said. “Then a national officer grabbed me and ran me to the stage.”
Olson said his proficiency was based on his work at the family business, Lee Valley Equipment. An entry is comprised of all the skills, activities and hours worked at the business.
Each of the four finalists received a plaque and $500. As a national winner, Olson received an additional $500 during a special ceremony at the convention.
He said the money likely will be spent on his college education. Olson is majoring in ag business with a minor in ag leadership and communication.
T-H grads Sydney Hansen and Andy Method also received their American Degrees. Although a total list was not available, Wallace told the Plaindealer the count of American Degree winners is approximately two dozen.
Burt County had another finalist honored at the convention.
Lyons-Decatur grad Eric Miller finished in second place in the Grain Production – Entrepreneurship area. It is sponsored by Pioneer Hi-Bred, a DuPont business as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
The Lyons-Decatur Northeast FFA Chapter had nine members attend and participate in convention activities, two members, Eric Anderson and KayCe Hollman, earn the American FFA Degree,
The L-D chapter also had other members attending the convention. Brittney Petersen, Jennifer Huffman, Taylor Mentink, Garrett King, Augusto Salazar, Corey McCullock, Lindsay Olsen, Jacob Maslonka, and Heidi Miller had the opportunity to hear a variety of speakers participate in over 80 development workshops and view over 150,000 square feet of a career show featuring companies, opportunities and college choices.
The National FFA Convention is the largest annual youth gathering in the country. This year over 50,000 members attended from across the nation.
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