The Manawa FFA chapter was recognized on the national stage, where Adam Michalowski and Courtlynn Oltz accepted the three-star Gold award, honoring the FFA’s Program of Activities in community, chapter, and student development.
Michalowski and Oltz were among five Little Wolf High School FFA students to attend the National FFA Convention, along with Andrew Scheller, Tristan Selle and Terrel Welch and their advisor Sandy Piechowski Cordes. Representatives from the Waupaca, Weyauwega-Fremont, New London, and Winneconne FFA chapters also made the trip to Louisville, Ky.
The group left early in the morning, Oct. 29 from Weyauwega High Schoool. They made their first stop at the Albanese Candy Factory in Merrillville, Ind. The candy factory is known for their gummy bears and gummy worms. The FFA members continued their charter bus trip and received a behind-the-scenes tour of Fair Oaks Dairy, which included a demonstration of their milking carousel. Members were also able to see a live calf birth and try fresh ice cream and cheese made from milk produced at the dairy.
The five chapters began the next day with a tour of the Louisville Nature Center — a showcase of southern flora and fauna located in the heart of the city. After a rather wet walk through the nature center, the group advanced even further into the city to receive a tour of the Louisville Slugger factory. The tour consisted of an informational video, followed by time in an interactive gallery of baseball paraphernalia, and then a step-by-step demonstration of the bat making process. After the tour, students were given an FFA branded mini-bat.
That evening students enjoyed a special concert for FFA members by Dierks Bentley with special guest Jana Kramer at the KFC Yum! Center.
During the convention, FFA members heard keynote speaker and coach of the Louisville Cardinals, Rick Pitino, speak about leadership and teamwork. Pitino has been head basketball coach at the University of Louisville since 2001 and coached the Louisville Cardinals to the 2013 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship.
Manawa FFA members also volunteered in the National Hall of States booth for Wisconsin. Members helped serve over 400 pounds of Wisconsin cheese while educating Career Fair attendees about Wisconsin agriculture.
Members participated in general sessions, educational tours, leadership workshops, a career show and expo, volunteer activities and much more. It is the largest annual student convention in the country, with 62,998 students attending this year.