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Seventeen Honorary State FFA Degrees were awarded at the 92nd Wisconsin State FFA Convention in Madison, Wisconsin, July 7, 2021. The Honorary Degree is the highest degree that the Wisconsin Association of FFA can bestow on a non-member. The recipients were presented with plaques during a special program to thank them for their dedication to agriculture education. This year’s honorees include:
Mary Ann Bays is retired, yet Bays Farm is often a hotel for traveling State FFA Officers. In addition to providing accommodations for State Officers, she has hosted the President’s Picnic, prepares food for the Fall Leadership Workshops, Sectional Leadership Workshops, and Leadership Development Events.
Jennifer Bradley served Wisconsin FFA Foundation for five years as the Marketing Coordinator creating materials, newsletters, and website design to support the FFA Foundation programs and events. She also served as Interim FFA Foundation Executive Director, State CDE Coordinator, speaking contest judge and WPS Farm Show Auction volunteer.
Dennis Cooley is an adjunct faculty member at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College focusing in Non-Profit Management/Leadership and corporate training facilitation in “Soft Skills.” He has assisted the Wisconsin FFA Foundation in their strategic planning for the future.
Terry Erdmann is a 33-year teacher at Pulaski Community Schools. He has taught over 16,750 students in a comprehensive science based agriscience curriculum, advised over 5,000 FFA members and eight Wisconsin State FFA Officers. He was awarded the WAVAI Outstanding Young Member Award, and Service Award; the WAAE Ideas Unlimited Award, and Tenure Award; and the NAAE Teachers of Teachers Silver Award for having five previous students become Agricultural Instructors.
Audrey Fischer has served as the Financial Specialist at Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction for seven years for six student organizations including the FFA. She supports Wisconsin FFA behind the scenes ensuring FFA programs are supported.
Samuela Geary is a 30-year physical education instructor at Kickapoo Area School. Her patented line of “don’t worry we got this” depicts her act of volunteering whenever anything is needed that will benefit FFA members or the community.
Becky Grabarski has been the FFA advisor and agricultural instructor at Adams-Friendship for 22 years and previously in Laconia for three years. She is the State Convention Agriscience Fair manager, WAAE Agriscience Committee Chair, the National Agriscience Teacher Ambassador, and was recognized as the 2019 WAAE Outstanding Agricultural Instructor.
Patrick and Margaret Hicken are the proud parents of the late Wisconsin FFA Advisor Jeffrey Hicken. It is because of their support and strong foundation, that Wisconsin FFA was able to be positively influenced by the success and leadership of their son as a State FFA Officer, agricultural educator, and as the Wisconsin FFA Advisor.
John Hromyak served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation for five years. During his time with the FFA Foundation, he raised millions for agricultural education and FFA programming at both the state and local levels. His efforts resulted in the Wisconsin FFA Foundation achieving its highest annual campaign total in its 38-year history. These results provided record levels of grants, scholarships, and other award distributions to individuals and chapters.
Bud and Georgia Johnson have owned MinnTex Citrus Iowa for over 40 years. Each year they give one percent of the Wisconsin Fruit Sales to the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and donated an additional $10,000 to the Jeffrey Hicken Memorial Endowment.
Jessica Kreke is completing her term as president of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation. Previously with Culver’s, she led the Thank You Farmers project and served on the National FFA Sponsors Board.
Julie Palkowski served Wisconsin DPI for nine years as the Art and Creativity Education Consultant and assisted in creating the Agricultural Artwork Competition at the Wisconsin FFA Convention, where she coordinated the judging of the event for six years.
Abigail Roudebush served as the Marketing and Development Coordinator with the Wisconsin FFA Foundation and helped grow the support for Wisconsin FFA.
Joshua Rusk served as the Executive Director of the Wisconsin FFA Foundation for 5 years. During his time with the FFA Foundation he raised millions for agricultural education and FFA programming at both the state and local levels. His efforts resulted in the Foundation achieving its highest annual campaign total in its 38-year history. These results provided record levels of grants, scholarships, and other award distributions to individuals and chapters.
David and Karen Styer are parents of the 2021-22 Wisconsin FFA President Benjamin Styer. Together, they operate Alfalawn Farm where they enjoy hosting tour groups and classes along with the State FFA Officer Team. In 1998 they were recognized as the Dunn County Farm Family of the Year.
Walter Taylor has been the Oconto Falls FFA advisor and agricultural instructor for sic years. He was recognized as the Agricultural Educator of the year by Wisconsin FFA Alumni in 2021, and the NAAE Teacher Turn the Key in 2014-15.
Terri Wilfert is the President of the Wisconsin FFA Alumni Association. She is a lifetime FFA Alumni member, representing Section 9 on the Wisconsin FFA Alumni council, and assists with judging speaking contests, scrapbook contest, and SAEs at the national level.
The Wisconsin Association of FFA is grateful for these individuals dedication to the organization and the legacy they have created in agriculture education and the Wisconsin Association of FFA.
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