Florence FFA finds success at the National FFA Convention

Florence FFA Horse Judging Team, from left: Evie Kahnke (silver medal), Chantel Nelson (bronze medal), Callie Mueller (gold medal – 5th place), Allison Grygiel (bronze medal), Jim Chilson, chapter advisor. Courtesy photo

The Florence FFA experienced great success at the 90th annual National FFA Convention held last week in Indianapolis, Indiana. Twelve members of the Florence Chapter made the trip and participated in various activities and competitions at the annual event.

Callie Mueller, competing as a member of the Florence Horse Judging team, won 5th place in the nation and was awarded a gold medal and a check for $600 for her efforts. She led the Florence Horse Judging team to a silver emblem finish at the national event. Florence’s team placed 22nd overall out of 47 states competing in the national event. Besides Mueller, other team members also scored well. Evie Kahnke received a silver medal for her efforts while Chantel Nelson and Allison Grygiel both received bronze medals for their judging efforts.

Zach Grygiel and Emily Kahnke, both graduate members of the Florence Chapter, were awarded the highest honor that an FFA member can receive, the American FFA Degree, in ceremonies held last Saturday. Grygiel is a senior at South Dakota State University majoring in agronomy. He also farms with his father, Tim Grygiel, of Florence. Kahnke is a graduate of Southeast Technical Institute of Sioux Falls. She has started her own business, EK Photography and Design, at Florence. She specializes in personal portrait photography as well as developing sales catalogs for area livestock producers. Emily also works in the family ranching operation near Florence.

Chapter officers and members including Adam Ronke, Jenna Peterson, Makayla Busskohl, Brad Bunde, Kaylee Sumner, Emma Thill, and Trey Hintz also represented the Florence Chapter at the National Convention. They were accompanied on the trip by chapter advisor Jim Chilson and Emily Kahnke, who served as the chaperone for the horse judging team.

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