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FFA honors presented Monday night

Chapter Star in Entrepreneurship John Martin (left) is joined by Chapter Star in Ag Placement Jacob Weg and Chapter Star Greenhand Katie Rogers following the Worthington High School FFA Banquet Monday evening in Worthington. Julie Buntjer/Daily Globe

WORTHINGTON — Jacob Weg and John Martin earned top honors during the Worthington High School FFA Chapter’s 76th annual banquet Monday evening. Weg earned the chapter’s Star in Ag Placement award for his work at the family’s Blue & White Dairy near Bigelow, while Martin garnered the Star in Ag Entrepreneurship for logging hours at Ocheda Seed Farm and providing lawn care at five locations over the past nine years.

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While the Chapter Star awards are typically presented to high school seniors, a Star Greenhand award is presented to an underclassman who has excelled in the FFA during his or her freshman and sophomore year. This year’s recipient was Katie Rogers, who worked numerous hours at the FFA Cook Shack during the Nobles County Fair last summer and, according to FFA Advisor Cody Dvorak, is always willing to lend a hand.

Dvorak, in the midst of his third year teaching agriculture classes and advising the FFA program at WHS, was presented the chapter’s Honorary FFA degree.

“Cody brought a lot of energy and new ideas to the FFA program,” said fellow FFA advisor Deb Martin.

He was instrumental in getting welding helmets and a plasma cutter for the ag shop, and through additional education, became an adjunct teacher through the University of Minnesota to offer College in the Schools classes through the high school.

Dvorak leads FFA Week activities for the chapter, and spearheaded the FFA Chapter Exchange since joining the faculty at WHS. Martin said he has made an impact on the program and on the community.

“Nothing more influenced my life than the FFA,” said Dvorak in accepting the honorary membership. A past FFA member in his home state of Nebraska, Dvorak encouraged younger members to get involved in the FFA and all it has to offer.

Dvorak’s message echoed the sentiments shared earlier in the evening by Minnesota FFA Vice-President Stuart Schumacher, of Heron Lake.

In his first chapter banquet visit since earning state office, Schumacher encouraged FFA members to take advantage of the leadership opportunities available through the program. He said state leadership conferences and trips to Washington, D.C., are available to FFA students — and perhaps the opportunity to travel abroad.

Earlier this year, Schumacher was one of several FFA officers to travel to South Africa to view agriculture and experience the culture.

“The connections we make in this organization are fantastic … and can change someone’s life,” he told the more than 160 people in attendance.

Additional awards presented Monday evening included Proficiency honors to chapter members who kept records for a Supervised Agricultural Experience. Recipients were Jacob Weg in Ag Placement; John Martin in Ag Placement and Entrepreneurship; and Desalegn Zemenfes in Ag Placement. Zemenfes works at the Hy-Vee bakery in Worthington. All three individuals will also earn their State FFA degree this spring during the Minnesota FFA Convention in St. Paul.

Zemenfes, as the chapter president for 2013-2014, was presented a gavel set to commemorate his year of service. Jeremy Majerus received the DeKalb Senior Plaque.

Leadership and scholarship pins are awarded at each grade level to FFA members who excel in those categories. The 2013-2014 recipients in leadership are Doria Drost, freshman; Andrew “Angus” Nystrom, sophomore; Nick Newman, junior; and Desalegn Zemenfes, senior. Scholarship honorees by grade include Vince Riley, freshman; Lauren Martin, sophomore; Sam Talsma, junior and Jacob Weg, senior.

Scholarships given on behalf of families with ties to the FFA were awarded Monday night as well. Jacob Weg received the Jerry Russell scholarship, while Miranda LeBrun was the recipient of the Ray Cuperus scholarship. The Martha Olson scholarship was presented to Paige Gravenhof; and Jeremy Majerus was the recipient of the Ag Advisory Board scholarship.

Awards were presented in FFA public speaking contests, with Victoria Grunst receiving a pin for her presentation of the FFA Creed; Mariah Slocum for competing in extemporaneous speaking and Emily Williamson for her participation in prepared public speaking.

Josh Majerus was recognized for winning the annual trap shooting contest, while Katie Rogers was presented the Golden Spatula for the hours she worked at the FFA Cook Shack during the Nobles County Fair.

Top fruit salesmen were also recognized at the banquet. Following in the footsteps of his older brother, Alex Scholtes garnered first place in fruit sales with more than $3,200 worth of product sold. Second and third went to Nick Newman and John Huls, respectively.

Carson and Turner Hagen, along with Trevor Wietzema, were also recognized for their 10th place finish in the FFA Meats CDE contest at the National FFA Convention last fall.

Daily Globe Reporter Julie Buntjer may be reached at 376-7330.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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