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FFA chapter attends national convention

By Staff | Nov 7, 2014

Submitted Rugby FFA chapter members stop for a photo during their tour of a Clydesdale ranch. BACK?ROW (Left to right): Kurt Pfau, Clay Vannett, Devin Volk, Josh Pfeifer, Brett Berginski. FRONT ROW: Maddie Schmaltz, Sierra Jundt, Atlantis Belgarde, McKenzie Johnson, Abagail Volk, Matty Koenig and Alex Hoffert

Last week, 12 members of the Rugby FFA chapter attended the FFA National Convention in Louisville, Ky.

“It was just a great experience being there,” said Rugby FFA adviser Kasey Okke. “We actually put in 135 hours last week, it’s a lot of busy time and a learning experience.”

For a whole week, chapter members got to meet other FFA members from across the country, and take in workshops devoted to leadership and professional skills, national officer meeting sessions and dances. They also had the opportunity to network with agriculture colleges and businesses at an FFA expo.

“One of the speakers they had in the opening ceremony pretty much inspired everyone in the audience,” said Rugby FFA chapter treasurer Sierra Jundt. “He was disabled, he didn’t have arms or legs and he could joke around about it. He didn’t care what people thought of him, which was pretty eye-opening because in school you pretty much worry everyone else is judging you.”

Rugby FFA president Devin Volk and vice president McKenzie Johnson also shared things they took from the convention.

“One of the workshops I went to was about stereotypes,” Johnson said. “It really makes you think about how you may view people may be untrue and it affects how you treat people. They talked about how you have to be the one to initiate breaking the stereotypes.”

Volk said: “It’s easy to be a leader, but you have to try. A lot of speakers talked about how you have to be the one others look up to, and I thought that was pretty good.”

Rugby FFA members also got the chance to see a Clydesdale horse ranch in Booneville, Mo., Churchill Downs, a haunted house and the Louisville Slugger factory. They witnessed fellow North Dakotans, four members of the Harvey FFA chapter, compete in a talent show.

Several Rugby FFA members received awards during the convention. Josh Stutrud, a student at NDSU, received a finalist award for the American Star Farmer. Stutrud, along with Mike Ostrem, Leo Hoffart, Abbey Paul and Emily Voeller, received American Degrees.

“Every year 0.5 percent of the (FFA) total membership gets an American Degree,” Okke said.

The Rugby FFA chapter returned home Nov. 2 with the exception of Volk, who returned early to join the Rugby High School football team as they faced the Killdeer Cowboys in the second round of Class A playoffs.

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