PAOLA — The 83rd annual Paola FFA Chapter awards ceremony was held March 9 at Paola High School, and like many other events this year, there was limited attendance and guests were socially distanced and masked.

Chapter Treasurer Taylor Murdock started off the awards pageant by welcoming the attendees. Chapter officers conducted opening ceremonies, Chapter Historian Rylan Armbruster gave opening remarks, and Vice-President Benjamin Timpe recognized parents and special guests in attendance, according to a news release.

Advisor John Menefee talked about how the last year had been so different, but how many of the members were still striving to compete at virtual contests and complete awards applications. He encouraged members to stay active and find something that interests them and pursue it. He thanked parents for trusting their children with the advisors and encouraged them to allow their child to be involved.

Menefee wrapped up his remarks with some accomplishments: Molly Kane has been serving as the East Central District Treasurer for the 2020-2021 school year; the Greenhand Parlaw team qualified and will represent the East Central District at State Convention — a first in chapter history; members earned over $4,000 in scholarships at the local, state and national level this past year and Leah Mailand was a National Finalist in Veterinary Science at National Convention, the 10th in chapter history, according to the release.

Alex Ure competed at MWI Welding and finished seventh overall while the Farm Business Management Team won the “National Invitational contest” and finished Top Five in another nationwide contest. At the East Central District awards selection day, two students received their State Degree and eight members were awarded district proficiency awards in 11 different proficiency areas with graduate Krista Haley winning in four areas, according to the release.

Greenhand members Hayley Hines, Wade Enman, Haley Fawbush, Jillian Gayley and Ashley Ward presented the FFA Creed before turning the microphone over to FFA Alumni President Max Menefee. He explained the purpose of the Alumni Chapter, some of their activities and services to the chapter, who could be a member and thanked the many businesses and supporters over the years who have donated to the scholarship fund.

Senior scholarships were awarded to: Taylor Murdock, Morgan Baska, Luke Elkinton, Benjamin Timpe, Alea Russell, Brock Pitzer, Rylan Armbruster, Molly Kane, Selah Hadle and Josie Dees.

Josie Dees was also presented with the Kenneth Nelson Memorial Scholarship, named after longtime Miami County resident and beef producer Kenny Nelson, who passed away in 2012.

Chapter advisors John Menefee and Tom Schull presented proficiency awards to the following students:

  • Max Douglass: agricultural sales placement, equine science placement*
  • Natalie Glassel: agricultural services
  • Kali Hickman: beef production entrepreneurship
  • Molly Kane: beef production placement
  • Luke Elkinton: diversified crop production*, fiber and/or oil crop production*, grain crop production*
  • Taylor Murdock: food service
  • Brock Pitzer: forage production; outdoor recreation
  • John Klingele: forestry management and products
  • Gus Wright: fruit production; vegetable production, wildlife management*
  • Katie Cosgrove: home and/or community development
  • Rylan Armbruster: landscape management
  • Makayla Harper: poultry production entrepreneurship
  • Seth Aistrup: poultry production placement
  • Kody Hendrickson: sheep production
  • Josie Dees: small animal production and care*
  • Benjamin Timpe: specialty animal production*
  • Bryn Grandon: swine production entrepreneurship

*denotes district winner

Benjamin Timpe was named the winner of the DeKalb Senior Award and will have his named added to the plaque recognizing past winners.

Members Brock Pitzer, Rylan Armbruster, Taylor Murdock, Molly Kane and Ben Timpe gave their senior remarks and recalled stories and funny happenings from their years in FFA.

The Star Greenland is given to a first-year student. Criteria include classroom success, FFA involvement/accomplishment and community service. Eli Meyers was this year’s winner.

Luke Elkinton was named the Star in Ag Placement for his work with several area farmers in production agriculture. This award recognizes a member with the outstanding agricultural placement supervised experience program.

Molly Kane was recognized as the Star Farmer. The Star Farmer award is the oldest and most prestigious award given by the FFA. It is steeped in history and recognizes the student with an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program. Kane was also the winner of the Dorrene Menefee Memorial Scholarship.

The Honorary Chapter Farmer recognizes those who have given substantial time and support to the chapter. This year’s honorees were Jeff and Stephanie Wright.

The evening concluded with the Chapter officers conducting closing ceremonies and the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance, according to the release.

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