Banquet Photo Album

The Mineral Point Chapter of the Future Farmers of America held its 89th annual banquet Tuesday, March 20th in the high school cafetorium under the leadership of Advisor Mike Robinson.

President Eric Heisner called the meeting to order and asked Sentinel Danny Pittz to deliver the invocation.

A year in review video made by the Skills USA Club played while the 275 members and guests in attendance ate a meal catered by Lee McCarville.

Lee McCarville was then honored with the Honorary FFA Member Award. Lee has been providing the FFA with a great meal and service for several years at the banquet. He has helped provide food at other events the group has hosted, such as Sectional Leadership Workshop, or staff lunch. Lee has also been a great supporter for the annual donation auction.

Morgan Fitzsimmons, State FFA Vice President and MPHS graduate, welcomed guests to the banquet.

Sentinel Pittz thanked the businesses that contributed to the banquet–Ross Soil Service for the plates, silverware packets, cups, and napkins and Southwest Graphics for the program and placemat.

Officers’ Parents were then introduced including: Scott and Emily Fitzsimmons, Jim and Holly Vondra, Bob and Jodie May, Mark and Tina Wallace, Troy and Teresa Pittz, and Ben and Debi Heisner.

The program then moved into the awards portion of the evening.

Discovery Degree

The FFA Discovery Degree is awarded to 8th grade FFA members who have successfully completed the 8th grade agriculture course, have attended FFA meetings, and have shown interest in pursuing the FFA in the coming high school years.

Recipients include: Colbi Carey, Laurianna Dannenberg, Lane Edge, Grace Engels, Ella Fox, Emily Graber, Landon Hermanson, Ross Lindsey, Hayden Marr, Trapper Nafzger, Faith Pilling, Blake Radtke, Ryan Reichling, Brett Roberts, Emma Steffes, Kelsie Toay, Caleb Wersal, Hope Wilson, and Keigen Yager.

Greenhand Degree

The Greenhand Degree is the first degree of membership earned in high school in the FFA. To earn a Greenhand Degree, you must have satisfactorily planned or started a SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience), have learned and be able to explain the meaning of the FFA Creed, know the FFA Motto, know the duties and responsibilities of FFA members, and have an understanding of the aims and purposes of the FFA.

Recipients include: Mitch Aurit, Alexis Berget, Emily Cody, Jerra Federman, Kane Gunderson, Mason Hughes, Sira James, Ivy Lawinger, Haily Murphy, Daniel Nordstrom, Olivia Olson, Rebecka Orsburn, Sadie Owens, Cloe Rule, Nolan Springer, Gabe Sporle, Rita Wilson, and Chandler Workman.

Chapter Degree

The Chapter FFA Degree is the second degree of high school membership for an FFA member. One must have received the Greenhand Degree, have a SAE, have knowledge of the chapter’s program of activities, participated in at least three local activities, and demonstrate progress in their SAE area.

Recipients include: Wes Berget, Sammi Bossert, Abbie Edgington, Wyatt Evans, Ryver Galle, Andrew Heisner, Sara Heisner, Lauren James, Nicole Johnson, Payton Lawinger, Maggie Schubert, Larry Steffes, Owen Stephenson, Morgan Vondra, and Blake Wendhausen.

Blue and Gold Award

The Blue and Gold Award is presented to FFA members in their third year of high school FFA membership. One must have received the Chapter FFA Degree, have a well established SAE, have participated in and helped organize the chapter’s program of activities, and demonstrate growth in their SAE.

Recipients include: Kyla Lindsey, Grant Lineberger, Uriah Ottoway, Brady Palzkill, Danny Pittz, McKenna Reichling, Hayden Schmit, Logan Schmitz, Abby Shannon, Cade Steffes, Kyle Vondra, and Garrett Wendhausen.

State Degree

The State FFA Degree is the highest degree the state association can bestow. The member must have taken two years of agricultural education and been an active member for two years. The member must have invested $2500 or worked 1500 hours in their SAE area and have completed their State FFA Degree application and have been accepted at the State level. The following will receive their State Degree at the State Convention in June: Katie Fitzsimmons, Eric Heisner, and Lauren May.

American Degree

The American FFA Degree is the highest degree that an FFA member can receive. There are many qualifications that must be met in order for an FFA member to receive this degree. The member must have been an active FFA member for three years and completed three years of agricultural education classes. The member must have graduated from high school, earned and invested $7500 or earned $1500 and worked 2250 hours in their SAE area. The following will be recognized at the National FFA Convention this fall: Morgan Fitzsimmons and Tommie Loken.

Speaking Contest

Daniel Nordstrom placed 1st at the District Speaking Contest held at Black Hawk. Daniel qualified for Sectionals and placed 2nd. The Creed Contest involves reciting the FFA Creed from memory and answering three questions related to the FFA Creed. The FFA Creed contest is only available to 9th grade FFA members.

Eric Heisner and Sara Heisner participated in the Job Interview Contest at the District level. This contest involves applying for a job, completing a resume and cover letter, and going through the interview process in order to be hired for the job.

Danny Pittz competed in the Extemporaneous Speaking Contest at the District level. Danny placed 3rd at the District competition. Extemporaneous speaking requires the speaker to prepare the speech on site and then present it.

Two 8th grade Quiz Bowl teams competed at the District contest. The members practice learning FFA trivia and facts for the competition. The members were: Blake Radtke, Brett Roberts, Colbi Carey, Emma Steffes, Grace Engels, Ross Lindsey, and Trapper Nafzger.

Sheylynn Pickel and Mitch Aurit competed in the Discussion Meet competition at District. The Discussion Meet involves receiving an agriculture related topic and then discussing the good and bad issues associated with that topic.

Katie Fitzsimmons and Morgan Vondra competed in the Prepared Speaking Contest. Katie’s speech is about social media’s effect on agriculture and Morgan’s is about misleading food labels. The students prepare and memorize their eight minute speech ahead of time and then present the speech to the judges and answer a series of questions about their speech. At the District competition, Katie placed 1st and Morgan placed 2nd. Both moved on to Sectional competition. At Sectionals, Katie placed 1st and qualified for State in June.

Alumni Judging Contest

Every year, the Mineral Point FFA Alumni holds an annual judging contest at local farms to help prepare the FFA members for the spring judging contests. This year the group attended Mike and Amy Robinson’s farm for judging sheep and goats, Paul Yager’s family farm for beef cattle, Jill Johnston-Yoder’s farm for judging horses, Tibbits Show Pigs for hogs and Gary Sullivan’s family farm for judging dairy cows.

This year’s runner up in the high school division was Cade Steffes with the winner being Payton Lawinger. This year’s runner up in the 8th grade division was Ross Lindsey with Emma Steffes being the champion.

Four-Year Member Award

Being a part of the Mineral Point FFA for four years of high school is an outstanding accomplishment for a member. These members have put in many hours and have participated in many events over the past four years of high school.

Recipients include: Joey Dolphin, Katie Fitzsimmons, Austin Heisner, Eric Heisner, Caden Jackson, Malorie Johnson, Baily Lawinger, Lauren May, Jacob Moellers, Amanda Murphy, Sydney Owens, Sheylynn Pickel, Brady Roberts, Maddie Siegenthaler, Grant Sporle, Martina Steffes, Carver Wallace, and Chance Wendhausen.

Chapter Proficiency Awards

There were 17 different FFA proficiency awards applied for at the state level, which are based on their SAE experience. They are given a ranking of bronze, silver, or gold. With each ranking the students get a monetary amount from the local chapter of $20, $30, or $50. All gold rated proficiencies are awarded at the State FFA Convention in June.

Katie Fitzsimmons received a rating of silver in Goat Production and was the Sectional winner. Katie’s SAE is based on showing Boer goats in market and breeding classes. Katie’s goat SAE led her to a Reserve Champion Wether at the 2015 and 2016 Wisconsin State Fair. Katie also received Reserve Champion Doe in 2016 at the Wisconsin State Fair. Katie exhibited Champion Wether in 2017 as well as Champion Junior Doe at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Eric Heisner placed 6th and received a gold rating in Diversified Agriculture Production at the state level. His SAE is based on working at local dairy farms. Eric does a variety of jobs at these farms and very much enjoys agricultural work.

Morgan Fitzsimmons received a bronze rating in Agricultural Services proficiency at the state level. Morgan’s SAE is based on her work at Military Ridge Veterinary Service. Morgan does a variety of jobs at the clinic. She schedules appointments, stocks shelves, monitors inventory and helps with client needs.

Morgan Fitzsimmons placed 2nd and received a gold rating at the state level in Diversified Livestock Production and was the Sectional winner. Morgan works for her family farm performing a variety of duties. Some of Morgan’s work includes: milking cows, feeding cattle, working hogs and making hay. Morgan puts in many hours throughout the summer and school year.

Morgan Fitzsimmons placed 2nd and received a gold rating at the state level in Agricultural Education and was the sectional winner. Morgan does a variety of activities promoting agriculture and the FFA. Morgan has organized many FFA elementary activities, which include some of the following: the Pre K Day on the Farm, TMR with the 2nd grade, planting oak savanna plants with 3rd graders, planting flowers with kindergarten students, as well as many others. Morgan has worked as a 4-H ambassador promoting agriculture throughout our county. Morgan has true passion for promoting agriculture to others.

Morgan Fitzsimmons placed 2nd and received a gold rating at the state level in Swine Production and was the Sectional winner. Morgan’s proficiency is based on her work raising show pigs. Morgan shows at county and state fair with her pigs, as well as at Jack Pot shows. Morgan has grown each year showing pigs and has become more successful each year.

Jacob Moellers placed 6th and received a gold rating in Landscape Management. Jacob’s SAE is based on his work at his family’s home and in the community. Jacob puts in many hours performing landscape maintenance and design. Jacob has added more skills each year to his proficiency and improved his placing at the state level.

Danny Pittz placed 7th and received a gold rating in Swine Production. Danny’s SAE is based on showing pigs and all levels of competition. Danny becomes more involved and learns more each year about showing pigs. One of Danny’s highlights from showing pigs is having the Champion Duroc market hog at the Wisconsin State Fair.

Danny also placed 9th and received a gold rating in Beef Production proficiency placement at the state level and was the Sectional winner. Danny’s SAE includes working for May Cattle Company. Danny helps with feeding, grooming, vaccinating, and managing beef cattle at May’s Cattle Company. Danny continues to expand his skills in fitting cattle for show and the daily maintenance it takes to get them ready for shows.

Lauren May placed 2nd and received a gold rating in Beef Production at the state level and was the Sectional winner. Lauren’s SAE is based on showing and raising heifers and show steers. Lauren has been very successful at all levels of competition winning champion banners at every level, from jackpot shows to the National Western Stock Show. Lauren has also added cows to her SAE and is raising and selling her own show cattle.

Morgan Vondra placed 12th and received a gold rating in Beef Production. Morgan’s SAE is based on raising and showing shorthorn cattle. Morgan’s SAE is based on raising and showing shorthorn cattle. Morgan has shown at all levels from jackpot shows to National Shorthorn Show. Morgan has her own cows and is able to breed her own show heifers and steers.

Sara Heisner placed 6th and received a gold rating at the state level in Swine Production. Sara’s SAE is based on raising and showing pigs for the county and state fairs. Sara is very involved in her swine project, from picking them out to deciding what type of feed they receive. Sara makes daily decisions on pig exercise and feeding.

Sara Heisner also placed 6th and received a gold rating at the state level in Veterinary Science Placement and is the Sectional winner. Sara’s SAE is based on her work at Military Veterinary Service. She is responsible for taking phone calls, making appointments, and communicating with clients. Sara also helps with the care of small animals at the clinic.

Sara Heisner also placed 8th and received a gold rating at the state level in Vegetable Production and is the sectional winner. Sara bought out her brother’s vegetable operation and now grows her own vegetable garden where she raises produce to sell to others. Sara has many duties with her garden including planting, weeding, harvesting, and selling the produce.

Cade Steffes placed 5th and received a gold rating in grain production and was the Sectional winner. Cade’s grain SAE is based on the work on his family’s farm. Cade has many duties which include hauling seed, cleaning out the grain bins, operating the grain cart, performing daily maintenance and making grain selling decisions.

Maggie Schubert received a silver rating in Swine Production at the state level. Maggie’s SAE is based on raising show pigs to show at all levels of competition. Maggie shows at national, state, and local shows with her pigs and has success at all levels.

Sheylynn Pickel received a silver rating in Goat Production. Sheylynn’s proficiency is based on raising boer goats for showing. Sheylynn has shown at the county fair, jackpot shows and the state fair. One of Sheylynn’s highlights was winning the champion market goat at the Iowa County Fair in 2017.

Special Recognition

Tommie Loken won State in Prepared Speaking last summer and went on to National competition where she finished in the top 40 in the country.

Morgan Fitzsimmons was elected as Section 4 State FFA officer last June and has been serving as State Vice President this year. Morgan has put on thousands of miles and met hundreds of people during her year of service. Morgan has represented the state association at political, social, and national events.

Eric Heisner placed 1st at state, winning the Vegetable Production Proficiency. Eric went on to place bronze at the national level.

Elizabeth Moellers placed 1st at state, winning the Diversified Horticulture Proficiency. Elizabeth’s proficiency went on to place bronze at the national level.

Fruit Sale Awards

The FFA had another successful fruit sale this year. Combining with Skills USA, the group sold almost $40,000 worth of fruit and locally produced products.

This year’s top fruit salesperson is Katie Fitzsimmons with $2393, second went to Maddie Siegenthaler with $2016, third to Kyla Lindsey with $1380, fourth to Danny Pittz with $1135, and fifth to Morgan Vondra with $925. The single season sale record still stands at $3899 by Dylan Burke.

Cash Back Awards

There is a cash back award program for FFA members who raised over $1000 in auction and fruit sale fundraising get 5% back on their total sales.

Recipients include: Katie Fitzsimmons, Maddie Siegenthaler, Eric Heisner, Sara Heisner, Maggie Schubert, Danny Pittz, Kyla Lindsey, Logan Schmitz, Cloe Rule, and Lauren May.

Star Discovery Award

The Star Discovery award is to honor the outstanding 8th grade FFA member. This award is based on the member’s involvement in FFA activities that are available to them as 8th grade members. This year’s recipient has participated in quiz bowl, FFA week activities, sectional leadership, is always helping in the ag shop, and has a great start in FFA.

Congratulations to Blake Radtke.

Star Greenhand Award

The Star Greenhand award is presented to a first year high school FFA member, based on FFA participation, school activities, scholastic attainment, and evidence of beginning the Supervised Agriculture Experience program. The Star Greenhand member has done many activities which include: the donation auction, fruit sale, speaking contest, started a proficiency award and FFA week events. He has a tremendous start in the FFA and will continue to display his leadership throughout his FFA career.

Congratulations to Daniel Nordstrom.

Star Chapter Award

The Star Chapter award is presented to a second year high school member based on the activities they are involved in, which includes the areas of FFA participation, school activities, scholastic attainment, and evidence of a SAE program. This year’s recipients have participated in speaking contests, judging contests, care packages, Ross Soil dinner, Cattleman’s dinner parking cars, have attended sectional leadership conference, applied for a proficiency award, and help with many FFA activities.

Congratulations to Morgan Vondra and Sara Heisner.

Blue and Gold Award

The Blue and Gold Award is given to a third year high school FFA member based on involvement in activities which includes the areas of FFA participation, school activities, scholastic attainment, and evidence of a SAE program. This year’s recipient serves as an officer. He has attended sectional leadership workshop, participated in speaking contests, livestock judging and attended Washington Leadership Conference. He has also filled out two proficiency awards. He has organized several FFA events and has participated in many events. He is always willing to do the next activity and doesn’t hesitate to try new things.

Congratulations to Danny Pittz.

DeKalb Award

The DeKalb Award is presented to a senior FFA member who has an agriculture SAE and has shown leadership capabilities throughout their FFA career. This year’s recipients of the DeKalb Award have been Mineral Point FFA members for five years. They have participated in every FFA event Mineral Point FFA has to offer, which includes district career development events, leadership conferences, judging contests, national and state FFA conventions, participated in speaking contests, and completed proficiency awards. Not only have they competed, but they have been successful. One is a two time state qualifiers in the speaking contest, one is a state proficiency winner, both have served as officers for several years, and are always willing to help and be involved. These members are able to get others to follow their leadership and become involved.

Congratulations to Katie Fitzsimmons and Eric Heisner.

Retiring Officers

President: Eric Heisner

Vice President: Katie Fitzsimmons

Secretary: Morgan Vondra

Treasurer: Lauren May

Reporter: Carver Wallace

Sentinel: Danny Pittz

2018-19 Officers

President: Danny Pittz

Vice President: Morgan Vondra

Secretary: Sara Heisner

Treasurer: Maggie Schubert

Reporter: Cade Steffes

Sentinel: Kyle Vondra

New President Danny Pittz adjourned the banquet saying, “As we mingle with others, let us be diligent in labor, just in our dealings, courteous to everyone, and above all, honest and fair in the game of life.”