Seneca FFA Honored at State Convention

SPRINGFIELD – Members of the Seneca FFA chapter attended the 95th annual Illinois State FFA Convention June 13-15 along with more than 5,000 other FFA members, advisors, and guests. With a 2023 theme of “Electrify,” the three-day event annually recognizes achievements of Illinois FFA members, elects the major state officer team, and celebrates agriculture.

During the convention, the following awards were presented to the Seneca FFA:

Illinois State FFA Degree: Dalton DeGrush, Gabe Hicks, Ashlin Jackson, Calvin Maierhofer, Chris Poyner, Keeli Pumphrey, Bryce Roe, Zack Sulzberger, & Matthew Wright were conferred with State FFA Degrees by the Illinois Association for meeting all requirements including productive financial investments and earnings in a supervised agricultural experience and FFA participation, leadership, and academic excellence. The State FFA Degree is the highest achievement an FFA member can achieve in Illinois; less than 2% of members statewide earn this prestigious recognition.

American FFA Degree: Madison Bromberek, Levi Maierhofer, Emma Smith, & Peyton Weber were recognized for earning the highest degree achievable in the National FFA Organization. The American FFA Degree will be officially conferred at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis in October and recognizes the most dedicated members in the country who demonstrated excellence with their supervised agricultural experience, provided outstanding leadership and community service, and earned scholastic achievement throughout their FFA career.

Building Communities National Chapter Award Section Winner: As part of the National Chapter Award program and the chapter’s program of activities, Building Communities is designed to encourage the local development of FFA partnerships with alumni affiliates and other organizations while taking a leadership role in making the community a better place to live and work. Cargill is the statewide sponsor of the Building Communities National Chapter Award.

Pictured above (from L to R): Kate Biros, Taylor Mino

Turf Grass Management State Proficiency Winner: Gabe Hicks was selected as the State FFA Proficiency Winner in Turf Grass Management. Gabe is the son of David Hicks and Courtney Hicks. He is a member of the Seneca FFA Chapter, advised by Jeff Maierhofer, Cally Diss, and Mitch Miller. For Gabe’s Supervised Agricultural Experience, he owns and operates Hicks Lawn Care, for the past two years. His business serves the areas of Ottawa, Marseilles, Morris, and Mazon, Illinois. He advertises via Facebook where he can speak with each client, find out exactly what they need, and how he can help them with their lawn care needs. His project has taught him that having a good work ethic will take you very far in life.

Pictured above (from L to R): Dave Hicks, Courtney Hicks, Gabe Hicks, Cally Diss, Mitch Miller, Jeff Maierhofer, Kent Weber

Foundation $9,000 Club Award: The chapter was recognized for coordinating a local campaign for the Illinois Foundation FFA which raised at least $9,000. The chapter’s fundraising total was $9,600.

Pictured above (from L to R): Addison Frye and David Bergeson

State Premier Chapter Award Section Winner & National Chapter Award Finalist: The State Premier Chapter Award is given to the chapter in the section with the highest overall score on the National Chapter Award application. The Illinois Farm Bureau Family of Companies Youth Education in Agriculture Committee sponsors the State Premier Chapter Awards. The chapter was also named a National Chapter Award Finalist and will compete at the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis this fall.

Pictured above (from L to R): Ashley Alsvig, Ashlin Jackson

Students at the convention were greeted with activities including a career fair featuring colleges and agribusinesses and an opportunity to engage in the history of Illinois’ capital city. The sessions featured addresses by National FFA Eastern Region Vice President Gracie Murphy, of Illinois, and from each of the