The Labette County FFA chapter recently attended the Kansas State FFA Convention in Manhattan, Kan. This convention highlighted the success of members from across the state of Kansas, and was attended by FFA members, advisors, and special guests.

Presiding over this year’s convention was Bethany Bohnenblust, of the Labette County FFA Chapter. Bethany served the Kansas FFA Association as State President during the 2007-2008 term. During her term in office, Bethany has traveled extensively across the state of Kansas to present workshops and develop leaders. Bethany also traveled to Spain to learn leadership techniques, and make connections with agriculturalists across the world. In order to fulfill her final duties in office, she led the Kansas State FFA Convention in style and served as an inspiration for younger FFA members who look forward to running for state office one day.

FFA members were fortunate to listen to several motivating speakers including Bethany Bohnenblust and Justin McKee. McKee is a former member of the Labette County FFA Chapter as well as a former Kansas FFA President. He currently works for the PBR announcing professional bull riding on the television station “Versus.” Both Bohnenblust and McKee delivered tremendous messages.

Each year, the Kansas Association recognizes the finest Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs across the state. Two members of the Labette County FFA Chapter were listed among the elite. Keith Geren and Jesse Muller were recognized as the best in the state in their respective proficiency areas. Geren had the best Oil Crop Production program in the state and is responsible for every phase of soybean production on his farm located near Bartlett, Kan.

Geren’s program is listed as “Entrepreneurship” as he owns the business and therefore works for himself. Muller works for “Muller Construction” of Coffeyville and was named the winner of the Environmental Science and Natural Resources Management proficiency award area. Muller uses heavy equipment to dig ponds, push out hedge rows, finish building sites, and participate in the Equip Program. He is also very heavily involved in the farming and ranching aspects of the family business. Both of these young men will represent the Kansas FFA Association at the National Proficiency Selection in Indianapolis, Ind., this October.

In addition to the recognition that Muller received for winning a state proficiency award, he was also selected as the State Star in Ag. Placement. The nominating committee reviewed the strongest Supervised Agricultural Experience Programs in the state, completed a full interview process, then selected the winner. Muller’s program was listed as the best in our state. As a result, he will apply for the American Degree and will be eligible to compete for the title of “American Star in Ag. Placement” in two to three years.

However, the success does not stop here. The State Public Speaking contests were held at the Kansas State FFA Convention. The Labette County FFA chapter was well represented as Blaine Lotz presented the FFA Creed, a five-paragraph article outlining the commitments of each student member. Lotz was evaluated and was ranked first in the state competition. As a result, he presented the creed to the entire audience during a convention session. Lotz will advance to the national creed speaking competition to be held in Indianapolis, in October. He will represent both the Labette County FFA Chapter and the Kansas Association at this engagement. In addition, Kendra Frazier competed in the State Prepared Public Speaking contest and was ranked 4th individually. Frazier was one of 35 selected to participate in this senior level event. Her manuscript and six-eight minute speech were evaluated in the process.

Rodney Fleming competed in the State Prepared Public Speaking contest as well as the State Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest. Rodney drew a topic out of a box and had only 30 minutes to format, prepare, and memorize a six-eight minute speech.

Lauren Nutter also participated in the State Extemporaneous Public Speaking contest. Nutter also represented the Southeast FFA district in the State Job Interview contest. She prepared a resume, cover letter, job application, follow-up letter, and attained three letters of reference in preparation for an actual job interview. When the scores were tallied, Nutter ranked ninth in the state.

Each FFA chapter in the state of Kansas competes in a contest entitled “Leadership School.” Two components of this contest involve a written test concerning FFA information and a Parliamentary Procedure Demonstration. Kendra Frazier was ranked third individually in FFA Information, and the Labette County FFA Chapter was ranked third as a team. The Parliamentary Procedure team consisting of Kendra Frazier, Katie Gilpin, Jesse Muller, Kayan Nash, Lauren Nutter, and Lauren Volmer placed third.

Seven members of the Labette County FFA chapter received the State FFA Degree—the highest degree that the Kansas FFA Association can bestow on a member. Members receiving this degree were: Phillip Banowetz, Kendra Frazier, Kevin Kabrey, Jesse Muller, Lauren Nutter, Shayla Smith, and Lauren Volmer.

Four members of the Labette County FFA Chapter participated in the State FFA Chorus, which combines the most talented vocalists from FFA chapters across the state. Brad Bohnenblust, Kinsley Falkenstien, Ashley McMunn, and Jessica Nance performed with the State FFA Chorus on the stage of McCain Auditorium to the entire convention audience.

Congratulations to the Labette County FFA Chapter.

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