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Ellsworth FFA makes memories to last a lifteime

Ellsworth FFA Advisor and Ellsworth High School agriculture education teacher Katie Christenson is pictured with American Degree recipients. From left: Katie Christenson, Hannah Nelson, Zach Hines, Colten Hines and Jeremy Brenner Jr. Photo courtesy of Raye Schmalstig1 / 2
Ellsworth FFA members and their families at the FFA National Convention in Indianapolis. Photo courtesy of Raye Schmalstig2 / 2

Members of the Ellsworth FFA attended National Convention, held Oct. 24-27 in Indianapolis, Indiana. On the trip they had the opportunity to go on tours, learn at workshops, attend a concert, explore Indianapolis, receive awards, listen to speakers, including President Donald Trump, and grow as a team. It was a rewarding and fun experience for all involved.

This year, Riley Anderson served the FFA as a national delegate for Wisconsin. She joined other student leaders from around the nation to discuss and advocate for agriculture and their own local issues.

Several Ellsworth FFA members had the honor of receiving American Degrees. An American Degree signifies the highest level of membership an FFA member can attain. It requires years of hard work and dedication to agriculture and the organization. Colten Hines, Zach Hines, Hannah Nelson, Keslyn McKahan and Jeremy Brenner Jr. all earned their American Degrees this year.

On Tuesday, Oct. 23, the Ellsworth FFA got up early to board the bus to Indianapolis. On the way to Indianapolis, the bus picked up several other Wisconsin chapters. They all stopped in Delavan to visit DeBuck's Sod Farm. There they learned about the labor saving machines and innovations. They were able to see miles upon miles of sod and watch the machines at work. Finally, after another five hours on the bus, they reached their hotel in Indiana.

On Wednesday, Oct.24, FFA members stopped at the RDM Shrimp Farm. Employees and the owner gave them a tour of the indoor farm, which raises fresh shrimp, tilapia and crawfish. Plans for expansion include oyster production and a shrimp hatchery. Then, they drove to Connor's Prairie, an interactive history museum. Members took a hot air balloon ride and threw tomahawks. They explored an 1836 prairie town populated by actors and actresses in costumes and heritage farm animal breeds. Later, they attended the first general session in Indianapolis before going to Lucas Oil Stadium to a Garth Brooks concert.

The next day, members spent most of the day at the convention center. They were able to explore booths in the expo, shop at the FFA shopping mall, attend workshops and sessions, and visit the Blue Room: a new experience from Microsoft, where members learn about new innovations in agriculture.

On Friday, Oct. 26, the ladies of the club attended the FarmHer breakfast to be inspired by women in agriculture. Afterward, members had more time to explore the convention. After lunch, the members went to the Indianapolis Speedway to tour the track and museum. Some kissed the bricks. Others did not. Finally, they enjoyed an early night back at the hotel to catch up on sleep and pack.

On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Ellsworth FFA watched members receive their American degrees, then boarded the bus for the long trip home. Unfortunately, members were unable to stay long enough at the convention to see President Donald Trump speak in person. However, many were able to livestream and enjoy the speech on the bus. Finally, the members arrived home at the Ellsworth High School, carrying memories they will remember for a lifetime.