Pierce FFA Believes
This is a group picture of our chapter.
By Amy Fleer
The State FFA Convention is the highlight of the FFA Chapters within the State of
Twenty-five members of the Pierce High FFA traveled to
The second annual Agricultural Issues Academy (AIA) was held Wednesday at the Cornhusker hotel prior to convention kickoff. The AIA was started as an idea under the Alliance for the Future of Agriculture (A-FAN), along with Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Corn Board, Nebraska Corn Growers Association and the Nebraska Pork Producers Association, as a new opportunity for Nebraska FFA members to learn about the issues involving Nebraska agriculture and to provide participants with the skills they need to become spokespeople for the industry. Kristen Albrecht and Lexy Nuesch were selected to be participants of the Academy. They learned how to speak to lawmakers and communicate to the media. Representatives from the broadcast news, editorial, and public relations media fields presented ways of telling agriculture’s story. They took a trip to the Capitol, accompanied by agriculture lobbyists to our state’s legislature. They also attended the Nebraska Farm Bureau Legislative Breakfast with their senators on the second day of convention. “I enjoyed learning how to properly speak to the media about agriculture. I recommend that every FFA member apply for the academy next year,” stated Kristen Albrecht. Lexy Nuesch put these new Agvocacy skills to the test as she represented the Nebraska FFA Association during the Farm Bureau press conference launching their campaign entitled, “Let Me Get My Hands Dirty” in opposition to the proposed changes to the child labor laws.
Today's agricultural industry presents students with over 300 career opportunities. Knowing that one in every three people in Nebraska are employed in an agriculturally based career, the Nebraska Career Development Events (CDEs) help students develop the abilities to think critically, communicate clearly, and perform effectively in a competitive job market. The top one-third of the students competing in CDEs receive a ribbon. In the Food Science contest, Lexy Nuesch placed twelfth earning a purple ribbon while Colby Krueger earned a white ribbon. The team also consisted of Amy Fleer and Morgan Siedschlag and earned a red ribbon as a group. The AgScience team consisting of Garrett Wicket, Ray Barnes, Kim Carlson and Bailey Tinker earned a white ribbon. Individually Garrett Wickett and Ray Barnes earned red ribbons. The welding team consisting of seniors Bronson Stonacek in OA welding, Lonnie Synovec earning a red ribbon in Arc welding, and Shane Thayer earning a white ribbon in Mig welding earned a white ribbon overall.
Several members were also chosen to be part of the Courtesy Corps. Their duties included watching doors, assisting judges, timing events, and being all-around helpers to help the convention to run smoothly. Pierce members selected to courtesy corps were Shane Thayer, Clayton Lienemann, Morgan Siedschlag, Ray Fleer, Kristen Albrecht, Dalton Polt, Tyler Tinker, Michael Fleer, and Brandon Gerdes.
The Agricultural Proficiency Awards honor FFA members who, through their Supervised Agricultural Experiences, have developed specialized skills that they can apply toward their future careers. Students can compete in over 47 areas. Amy Fleer received silver in Agricultural Communications. Brandon Freeman, Lexy Nuesch, and Haley Oestreich were all chosen as top finalists. Each of them was interviewed over their area by a panel of judges. On Thursday evening the finalists attended a special supper with their parents to honor their years of hard work. The three were all recognized on stage that evening at Pershing to receive their awards. Brandon Freeman received 3rd place in Beef Production Placement, Lexy Nuesch received 2nd place in Equine Science Placement and Haley Oestreich received 3rd place in Poultry Production Placement.
Friday night was a special night at the Convention. Superintendent Kendall Steffensen was awarded the Cornerstone Award. The Nebraska FFA Cornerstone Award is presented to school administrators who support their local agricultural education programs and FFA chapters. The strength and growth of our organization would not be possible without the hard work and dedication that these administrators give to their communities and schools. The FFA members, who wrote a letter describing how he has been a great friend to the FFA this year, nominated Mr. Steffensen. Another highlight of the night was when Amy Fleer was chosen to sing a solo in the FFA Choir in front of 3,000 people. This was Amy’s third year being selected to the choir and first year as a featured soloist.
Nebraska Leadership Skills Events (LSE) provides FFA members with experience in the practice of influencing others through speaking and parliamentary procedure competitions. The LSE participants were recognized on Friday night for their achievements. Haley Oestreich received bronze in Job Interview and Bailey Tinker also receiving bronze in Junior Public Speaking with her speech entitled: “Got Milk? Human Milk from Dairy Cows” focusing on the use of genetically modified dairy cattle that are capable of producing milk closely representing human milk. Payton Wragge received silver in her Senior Public Speaking delivering a speech entitled “Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You” that focuses on the current attack on modern agriculture. Freshman Bailey Tinker commented, “It was a little scary but a lot of fun and I can’t wait till next year!”
While attending convention, Amy Fleer, Haley Oestreich, Colby Krueger, and Shane Thayer earned the Nebraska State FFA Degree. This degree is awarded to those members who receive the Greenhand and Chapter Degree at the local level. The four had to be an active member for a minimum of two years, had to complete two years of record books, and fill out a detailed application, pass an FFA knowledge test, and complete an interview. “The challenge of applying was worth the reward of being able to walk across the stage in front of 3,000 plus FFA members to receive my degree,” said Colby Krueger.
Members had a very hectic schedule while at convention when not in contest by attending both learning and motivational sessions and learned how to be positive leaders. The seniors who attended were Amy Fleer, Brandon Freeman, Colby Krueger, Haley Oestreich, Bronson Stonacek, Lonnie Synovec, Shane Thayer, and Payton Wragge. Juniors who were able to attend were Tyler Carlson, Clayton Lienemann, Lexy Nuesch, and Morgan Siedschlag. Sophomores who attended were Kristen Albrecht, Ray Barnes, Ray Fleer, Michael Fleer, Brandon Gerdes, Charles Krueger, Dalton Polt, and Tyler Tinker. Freshmen were Kim Carlson, Noah Krueger, Heath Lienemann, Bailey Tinker, and Garrett Wickett.
The Pierce Chapter was awarded a Silver Medal Rating for its various activities over the past year. Advisor Mrs. Jodi Borchers said, “I could not be more proud of these members. All year they have worked extremely hard and deserve every accolade. Pierce High School could not ask for better representation!” The Pierce FFA will come to the official end of their year as they hold their annual FFA banquet in the high school gym on April 13th.
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