Named the top Iowa FFA Chapter in early March, the West Liberty FFA collected their honors last week while making a number of presentations that won even more honors for the decades old organization at the Iowa FFA Convention, held for the first time in Des Moines rather than Iowa State University.
Advisor Zach Morris couldn’t be more proud of his 35 members of the chapter that represented West Liberty and won the top organization in the state two of the last three years.
Three presentations by the local chapter won state honors while the group won two state runner-up honors as well as several other honors.
The group won the state title for Chapter Program of Activities, presented by Lindsey Laughlin, Isabel Morrison and Janey Gingerich, showing all the activities of the group through the year, a cooperative effort with the West Liberty Index and area businesses supporting the local FFA programs.
Laughlin also won the state FFA’s Nursery Operations Proficiency Award for managing the best FFA working greenhouse in the state, another first for the chapter.
The Ag Career and Science Investigation development team, composed of six West Liberty Middle School eighth grade girls, also won a state title. The team includes Sophie Buysse, Mia Gingerich, Madi Stultz, Jada Mass, Daisy Kivi and Ava Morrison.
Iowa FFA Degrees were also claimed by six members of the West Liberty Chapter including Janey Gingerich, Isabel Morrison, Chance Thrasher, Brielle Page, Lindsey Laughlin and Abby Tanchinh.
Morris said those degrees are based on each student finishing 360 hours of agriculture education in the classroom while having individual projects that earned at least $1,500 or volunteering to work on community service projects for 375 hours. He said each student has to give at least 25 hours of community service annually and compete in at least five state and local FFA activities through their FFA career.
He said the highest performer was Chance Thasher, who started his own C & C Services lawn mowing and landscaping business, earning $35,000 while in high school.
The state’s Ag Impact team of Ryan Cassady, Crager David, Caden Laughlin, Seth Aszom, Cael Daufeldt and Cole Daufeldt was a state runner-up as well as Brielle Page for her work on the Chapter’s new website.
The Parliamentary Procedure team took third place for West Liberty as Finley Hall, Brooklyn Buysse, Presnton Daufeldt, Morgan Hodge and Colin Cassady won the honor.
Taking a fourth place gold honor was the Conduct of Meetings team of Addyson Lehman, Genna Evans, Dionni Vasquez, David Mahoney, Dominic Hernandez, Mya Elizondo and Paige Werling.
The Ag Issues and Perspectives team claimed a silver honor with the group of Kylie Struck, Aly Harned, Jack Mahoney, Taylor Eason, Tye Miller, Rachel Aird and Cassie Aleman.
Morris gives a lot of credit for the honors to his chapter members, noting that despite the pandemic and not knowing if there even would be an FFA Convention this year, the group prepared for their presentations as if they were going to take place.