Kristal Brogan's FFAers were part of the blue-coat record.

"There was record attendance, with over 3,500 members," said Kingsland ag instructor and Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA advisor Brogan, recounting how her 27 students were among the people forming a mass of blue corduroy coats at the Minnesota State FFA Convention, held April 27 through April 29 at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul.

"The students are able to see that their hard work studying pays off when they compete against students from across the state. In addition to the competition, students are able to see the breadth of the organization," said Brogan. "A lot of the students are amazed at how many blue coats are in one area. They are able to see, hear and be exposed to things they normally would not have."

The delegation included the floriculture, meats, nursery and landscape, fish and wildlife and farm management teams, as well as job interview candidate Hannah Frank, state band participant Shelby Larson, state secretary candidate Valerie Earley, and delegates Carter Reiland, Gretchen Corson, Marissa Bornholdt and Heather Apenhorst.

Brogan is pleased to announce that Frank received first place in job interview and is bound for national competition at the national FFA convention, and that Earley was elected Minnesota's 2014-2015 state secretary and earned third place in public speaking.

Students receiving their FFA degrees included Marissa Bornholdt, Brandon Hamersma, Brianna Musel, Melinda Woods and Shelby Erding. The nursery and landscape team - Kayla Mulhern, Dane Gillespie, Valerie Earley and Hannah Frank - garnered 12th place, the farm management team - Tyler Kappers, Adam Buchholtz and Erica Earley - earned 19th place, the floriculture team - Jackie Apenhorst, Brianna Musel and Paige Brandt - brought home 28th place, the meats team - comprised of Josh Bradley, Isiah Bubany, Marcus Plaehn and Jacob Rindels - earned 29th place, and the fish and wildlife team - Brandon Hamersma, Jordan Pokorney, Ethan Cronk and Jackson Rindels gave the competition their best.

The Spring Valley-Wykoff chapter was recognized for membership growth, contributing to the Minnesota Foundation, participating in the Ag Literacy Challenge, giving a donation to Camp Courage, and receiving the National Superior Chapter Award and the Land of Service Award.

Students attended workshops throughout the convention's duration, including the "How to be a College Student Workshop," "The Small Things: Stand Out From the Crowd - Mastering Resumes and Applications," "Successful Volunteer Programs," "The Importance of our Purpose," and "Telling Your Story: Effective Press Release Writing," and they also heard retirement addresses from officers, an address from the national officer who comes from West Virginia, and keynote remarks from Minnesota football coach Jerry Kill.

Additionally, they attended the talent show and "Reflections" programs, competed in contests and participated in a service project packaging food for those in need.

Brogan is proud of her students' "hard work and dedication towards preparing for state convention, as well as their overall behavior at the convention."

Spring Valley-Wykoff chapter reporter Frank noted, "State convention is important to attend, especially if you are competing. There are many other opportunities at state as well. You can attend the many sessions and workshops put on by the state FFA and learn very important life skills such as building a good resume. In the sessions put on by the state officers, you can hear many guest speakers among other things. You can participate in the state FFA band and choir, like Shelby Larson did this year. You can also serve on the nomination committee, which I did last year. The nomination committee interviews the state officer candidates and picks six individuals they think will best serve the state FFA. Valerie Earley ran this year and was elected as the state secretary."

She added, "State convention is fun because you can compete in different CDEs, like farm business management and meat evaluation. I participate in nursery and landscape and also job interview. State convention is also fun because you get to see friends you have made from past FFA events. Most importantly, state is fun because you get to miss school!"