Waterloo FFA wins top chapter in state

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State FFA Vice President Connon Carmondy presents the Student Development award to J.D. Steibel and Griffin Taake with GROWMARK representative Amie Hasselbring. (submitted photo)
Illinois FFA Vice President Connon Carmondy presents the Student Development award to Waterloo’s J.D. Steibel and Griffin Taake with GROWMARK representative Amie Hasselbring. (submitted photo)

The storied Waterloo FFA program did something this week that it’s never done before in its 76-year history. At the State FFA Convention this week in Springfield, the chapter was awarded the Student Development Award, Chapter Development Award and Community Development Award — the three highest awards bestowed at the state level.

By winning these three categories, Waterloo on Thursday was officially named the top overall FFA chapter in the entire state.

“This is the equivalent of winning state in any sport,” a proud Tim McDermott, Waterloo’s longtime FFA advisor, said from Springfield.

“Our students have continuously worked year after year to make our chapter great by coming up with activities that improve our students’ well-being, chapter growth, and increase community involvement. It is an honor for our chapter to receive this award and I am honored to be one of their advisors,” added Waterloo FFA advisor Carrie Koester.

On Wednesday, Farm Bureau State President Philip Nelson presented the Community Development award to FFA members Rylee Diekmann and Wyatt Drews. Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert presented the Chapter Development award to Mikayla Hagan and Jacob Jung. State FFA Vice President Connon Carmondy presented the Student Development award to J.D. Steibel and Griffin Taake with GROWMARK representative Amie Hasselbring.

Fellow chapter members Lydia Johanning and Sedona Kolmer also earned top state honors for their agriscience fair projects. Both students advance to the National FFA Convention competition.

A parade welcoming home the state-winning Waterloo FFA chapter took place Thursday evening, traveling from Rural King onto Main and Market starts before ending at Waterloo High School. For photos from Thursday’s parade, click here.

Read the full story on all of Waterloo FFA’s recent accolades in next week’s Republic-Times newspaper.

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