Schoharie Valley FFA Hosts 70th Annual Blue & Gold Awards Banquet

The Schoharie Valley FFA chapter hosted their 70th annual Blue & Gold Awards Banquet on June 15th at the Olde Tater Barn in Central Bridge. Nearly 140 members, guests and community members attended to celebrate and recognize the achievements of the chapter members throughout the past year, in addition to hosting a fundraising auction to support students attending National FFA Convention and hearing from NY State FFA Vice President Paige Warren on growth through challenges. A number of awards and degrees were presented to members: 

The Discovery Degree is awarded to middle school members that have attended meetings, helped with community service activities and participated in leadership contests. Recipients include: Jameson Bixby, Caroline Borst, Noah DeBoer, Ephraim Crocoll, Mollie Goblet, Peyton Hahn, Leila Holt, Lauren McBride, Madelynn Rivera, Caitlin Saddlemire, Logan Schrader, Allie Smith, Luke Stevens, Reed VanValkenburg & James VanWie-Goring. 

The Greenhand Degree is the first official degree of membership earned by FFA members in a series of 4 awards recognized by the National FFA Organization. Greenhand degree recipients have planned or started a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE), have learned about the FFA creed and motto, know the responsibilities of FFA members and the purpose of the organization. Recipients include: Sierra Carr, Noah Dutcher, Yazmin Goodrich, Thomas Laux, Dalton Oliver, Ana Laura Reales Monge, Jillian Rehberg & Logan Schoeffler. 

The Chapter Degree is the second degree of high school membership for an FFA member. Recipients must have received the Greenhand Degree, assist in coordinating the chapters program of activities, have an SAE and participated in at least three local activities throughout the school year. This is the highest level of degree available to students at the local school/chapter level. Recipients include: Chloe Armstrong, Delena Baker, Darren Bouck, David St. George, Adora Hardendorf, Jillian Kennedy, Griffen Lansing, James Liddle Jr. Zachary Perrott, Molly Repicky, Savannah Traverse & Mandi-Jaye Williams. 

The Empire Degree is the highest degree awarded to members of the New York FFA Association. Members must meet qualifications relating to their work experience, leadership development, and community service. This year, Schoharie Valley had 4 members qualify to receive their Empire Degree at the New York State FFA Convention in Syracuse in May: Kimberly Olsen, Remington Lawyer, Tyler Lloyd & Blake Smart. 

Also recognized at the banquet for receiving the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization were 3 Schoharie Valley FFA Alumni: Alex Cipperly, Robert Dorrough & Terry Lansing. The American FFA Degree shows an FFA members dedication to their chapter and state association. Less than one half of one percent of FFA members earn the American Key, so their accomplishments are to be commended. 

The active FFA members in each agriscience course that earned the highest average over te course of the 4 marking periods were recognized for their academic achievements. With a 99 in UHS Agribusiness Management, David St. George. Jillian Rehberg earned a 96 in Environmental Science & Horticulture. With a 99.6 in UHS Dairy & Livestock Science, Kimberly Olsen. Molly Repicky completed Veterinary Science with a 96. In Floral & Landscape Design, Jillian Rehberg earned a 97 overall. 

Chapter members that competed in leadership and career development events were recognized for their participation and placing at local and state level contests. The chapter had 8 students compete in leadership development events specifically dedicated to cultivating skills in the areas of critical thinking, public speaking and communication. 21 students competed in career development events at the NY State FFA convention where they put technical experience to the test in individual and team settings. Competing at the District 2 Leadership Development Events: 

In Extemporaneous Speaking, Chloe Armstrong, Zachary Perrott & Savannah Traverse. Chloe Armstrong placed 7th at District 2 where she competed again at Eastern Region Substates. In Senior Prepared Public Speaking, Adora Hardendorf placed 5th at District 2, competing again at Eastern Region Substates. In Employment Skills, Yazmin Goodrich, Kimberly Olsen and Tyler Lloyd. Yazmin placed 9th at District 2. Kimberly Olsen placed 5th and Tyler Lloyd placed 2nd, competing again at Eastern Region Substates. In Senior Creed Public Speaking, Yazmin Goodrich and Ana Laura Reales Monge. Yazmin placed 7th at District 2, where she competed again at Eastern Region Substates. Ana placed 1st at District 2 and 1st again at Eastern Region Substates, qualifying as one of 6 individuals from across the state to compete at NY State FFA Convention, where she placed 2nd overall. Ana joined us from Costa Rica this year as a foreign exchange student and the chapter is extremely proud of her accomplishments, especially in a second language. Ana presented the FFA creed for the chapter members and guests at the banquet. Competing in Career Development Events at NY State FFA Convention in Syracuse: Noah Dutcher, Thomas Laux & Chloe Armstrong in Maple Production. Tyler Lloyd, Blake Smart, Zachary Perrott & Logan Schoeffler in Agricultural Mechanics & Technology. In Junior Tool Identification, Dalton Oliver, Mollie Goblet, Peyton Hahn, Logan Schrader & Reed VanValkenburg. In Floriculture, Sierra Carr, Savannah Traverse, Lorelei Frederick & Jillian Rehberg. In Discussion Meet, Chloe Armstrong. Chloe placed 5th overall in the state. In Food Science & Technology, the team of Molly Repicky, Yazmin Goodrich, David St. George & Adora Hardendorf placed 2nd overall in the state, qualifying them to compete at Eastern States Exposition in Massachusetts later this year. David St. George placed 10th in the individual competition and Molly Repicky took home top honors, placing 1st overall in the state. 

Schoharie Valley FFA members that received Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) grants at the state and national level were recognized for their efforts. This year, the chapter had 4 members receiving a $500 grant award from NY FFA, with 2 of the members also receiving an earlier award of $1000 from the National FFA Organization. Dalton Oliver has grown up raising sheep and has big plans to continue his SAE through the purchase of another shropshire sheep and using the funds from his $500 NY FFA grant to improve his lambing pens. James Liddle Jr. has a diversified crop and livestock SAE in addition to working on a local dairy farm. JJ manages a number of acres locally where he produces high quality hay for his livestock and to sell. He plans to use the funds from his $500 NY FFA grant towards the purchase of a new hay tedder to improve the quality of forages produced. Savannah Traverse received both a $500 NY FFA grant along with a $1000 award from National FFA, sponsored by Farm Credit East. She is using teh funding to renovate a barn into a kennel area at her family farm to provide local dog boarding services and eventually offer dog training. Savannah began training dogs at a young age and has continued to expand her knowledge and skills through agility trials and showing dogs at local and regional events. Tyler Lloyd received both a $500 NY FFA grant along with a $1000 award from National FFA, sponsored by Amerisource Bergen. He has high aspirations of developing an elite herd of Holstein dairy cattle. With the funds from his awards, he will be able to purchase quality feed, pay for IVF sessions and entry fees for dairy shows to continue the development of his show herd. 

A number of outstanding member awards were given to each degree level, to recognize the dedication, hard work, positive attitudes and service to the FFA chapter by a distinct few individuals. Advisor Taylor Bogardus presented these awards to these individuals after being selected by the officer team. Mollie Goblet was named “Star Discovery” member after participating in nearly every event or trip possible to jump start her FFA career in 6th grade. Yazmin Goodrich was named “Star Greenhand” of the chapter after participating in all of the chapter service events, preparing for two different leadership development events and helping the Food Science team to their 2nd place finish in the state. Molly Repicky was named “Star Chapter” member by the officer team for her continued dedication to assistance with the campus land lab, various chapter events and her hard work in preparing for the food science contest, where she was the top individual in the state. Kimberly Olsen was named “Star Empire” after stepping up to the plate during her senior year to assist in coordinating chapter events, helping to develop the chapter social media pages and her dedication to mentoring younger members. In addition to the degree star winners, two chapter star award winners were recognized in the area of Chapter Star Farmer and Chapter Star in Ag Placement. The Star Farmer is given to a chapter member with an outstanding SAE in production agriculture and demonstrating the most involvement in all phases of the chapters activities. Zachary Perrott was named this years Star Farmer. Zack has a diversified livestock and crop production SAE where he raises miniature herefords while helping to manage his family’s horse boarding operation, in addition to numerous placement projects in landscaping. Zack’s strong work ethic and commitment to the chapter through officer positions the past two years has shown his dedication to production agriculture. The chapter member with an outstanding placement SAE in agribusiness or production agriculture who is actively involved in chapter programs, leadership and scholarship is awarded the Chapter Star in Agricultural Placement medal. This year’s chapter star in ag placement was Chloe Armstrong. Through her equine placement at Ox Kill Farms in Knox, Chloe has gained tremendous experience in equine science, farm management, nutrition and even assisting in the production of high quality forage for the horses. 

The DeKalb Agricultural Accomplishment Award is presented annually to one graduating senior who exemplifies scholarship, commitment to FFA and extreme work ethic. DeKalb seed company sponsors this award to recognize students for their hard work, dedication and passion for pursuing careers in agriculture. This years recipient was Blake Smart. Blakes endless support for the agriscience and technology programs at school is to be commended. “His work ethic is without end, and he has worked for a number of local farms and businesses, gaining skills that he puts to use in all aspects of his academic and work endeavors,” said Kimberly Olsen, chapter reporter presenting the award. 

The most recognizable symbol of the FFA organization is the blue corduroy jacket worn by current members. The FFA jacket unifies members in a long standing tradition and reminds them that they are part of something larger than themselves. This year, two outstanding members were awarded jackets, sponsored by the Luneiski family. Caroline Borst and Molly Repicky were selected by the officer team to receive the “gift of blue” to recognize their engagement and service to the chapter. 

Honorary membership into the FFA is reserved for individuals who have given many hours of service, constant guidance or advice to members and support to the FFA as a whole. As stated in the National FFA Constitution, an Honorary Degree can be presented to those who have rendered outstanding service, such as farmers, school superintendents, principals, members of the School Board, chapter advisors, teachers and staff members in agricultural education, business people, and others who are helping to advance agricultural education and the FFA.  The officer team selected two individuals this year to receive this prestigious award, based on their continuous support and guidance to the chapter, agriscience students and the program as a whole: Technology teacher Justin Maleszweski and Assistant Principal Kristin DuGuay. Both individuals were commended for their endless support for the chapter, program and students, ensuring the promise of FFA and the future of Agriculture for students at Schoharie. 

An FFA chapter and agricultural education program relies on the support, assistance, leadership and service for its success from school, community and supporters. The following individuals were recognized by the chapter for their support throughout the past year: Hessian Hill Farm, the Goblet & Schubert Family, The Schoharie Junior/Senior High Administration Team, The Miller Family & Jack Miller Tractor, Farmhouse Floral Design: Jess Beretz, The Ball Family & Schoharie Valley Farms, Flower Ally: Allison Sanganetti, Assemblyman Christopher Tague, The Traverse & Oliver Family, Bill & Lisa Kuehnle, Rick & Sarah Welsh, Todd & Sara Cipperly, The Lunieski Family, Brooke Howell & Ellen Bogardus

Graduating seniors presented an emotional video tribute to their parents for their endless support and guidance over the years before unzipping and hanging their jackets for the final time as high school FFA members to receive their graduation cords. 

The 2021-2022 Officer team was recognized for their service and dedication throughout the year. The retiring officer team included: President Tyler Lloyd, Co-Vice Presidents Zachary Perrott & Savannah Traverse, Reporter Kimberly Olsen, Secretary Mandi-Jaye Williams, Treasurer Jillian Kennedy, Sentinel Adora Hardendorf & Historian Ana Laura Reales Monge. They were each presented with plaquest to commemorate their year of service. Retiring officers and seniors installed the 2022-2023 Officer Team after being slated by a nominating committee of local alumni and agribusiness leaders. The 2022-2023 Officer Team will be: President Tyler Lloyd, Vice President  Savannah Traverse, Secretary Chloe Armstrong, Treasurer Yazmin Goodrich, Reporter Molly Repicky, Sentinel Jillian Kennedy & Student Advisor Zachary Perrott. President Tyler Lloyd also announced the induction of a brand new Junior Officer Team. This group of 7th-9th grade students will work alongside the senior officers to learn about the different roles they play to serve the chapter members and plan events for the junior members as the chapter continues to grow and evolve with the inclusion of 6th grade students in the high school building at Schoharie. The Junior Officer Team for 2022-2023 will be Caroline Borst, Sierra Carr, Noah Dutcher, Peyton Hahn, Mollie Goblet & Dalton Oliver. 

The chapter would like to also recognize and thank the various alumni, parents and community members that made the Auction Banquet a success, as well as auctioneer Rick Welsh for donating his time to collect bids. From model tractors and baked goods to custom FFA cornhole boards, the community rallied behind the chapter to raise nearly $3000 in donations and auction purchases that will directly support students in attending national FFA convention later this fall and hosting numerous service events throughout the summer. Thank you to all that joined the chapter for the banquet to recap the year’s success.