Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA members Brianna Musel, Jordan Pokorney, Jennifer McNamara, Valerie Earley, Melinda Woods, Hannah Frank and Trevor Schwarz raise a large gavel to open the 2014 FFA banquet held Monday, April 21.  GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA members Brianna Musel, Jordan Pokorney, Jennifer McNamara, Valerie Earley, Melinda Woods, Hannah Frank and Trevor Schwarz raise a large gavel to open the 2014 FFA banquet held Monday, April 21. GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Spring Valley-Wykoff FFA chapter marked its 57th year at its annual banquet Monday, April 21, complete with the big bang of a giant gavel and plenty of awards.

The 2013-2014 officers were President Brianna Musel, Vice President Hannah Frank, co-treasurers Dane Gillespie and Melinda Woods, reporter Shelby Larson, assistant reporter Makala Nauman, sentinel Kayla Mulhern, co-assistants Trevor Schwarz and Tyler Kappers, historian Jackie Apenhorst, and student advisor Valerie Earley. The 2014-2015 officers installed that night are: Apenhorst, president; Gillespie, vice president; Gretchen Corson, secretary; Tyler Kappers, treasurer; Carter Reiland, assistant treasurer; Hannah Frank, reporter; Nauman, sentinel; and Heather Apenhorst, historian.

The Spring Valley-Wykoff chapter of FFA is thriving - it includes 67 members in grades seven through 12 and is led by advisor Kristal Brogan, who succeeded her father, Richard Schaufler, in serving as the district's ag instructor and FFA advisor. Schaufler was a guest of the chapter during the banquet.

Current school year officers updated the attendees on FFA happenings, such as participation in career development teams that would be competing at state convention later that week, April 27 to 29. Six teams and two individuals, including the floriculture team, the dairy foods team, the farm management team, fish and wildlife team, nursery and landscape team, meats team, job interview competitor Hannah Frank and public speaking competitor Valerie Earley competed.

FFA Discovery, Greenhand, Star Greenhand, chapter and honorary degrees were presented along with the honorary degrees being given to Connie Brandt, Ody's Country Meats, Brad and Brenda Musel, Rick and Gina Jahn, Patrick and Nicole Pokorney, Janet Kappers, Daniel and Patti Woods, and James and Rachel Earley.

Guest speakers of the evening were Brandon Roiger, Minnesota FFA's state reporter, and Brooke Wente, state secretary, who shared that FFA gives them a purpose for their lives.

"We need to look at the big picture because the big picture gives you a purpose in life," Wente told the FFA members. "Bethany Hamilton, of 'Soul Surfer,' was 13 years old when she was bitten by a shark and lost her arm. She could have quit, but with determination, she went on to win national surfing competitions...she saw the big picture and learned to surf again."

Roiger shared how he was involved in various activities throughout high school but finally found that FFA and speech serve him best, realizing that through his discovery process, his family supported him, which in turn prompted him to choose "family" as the word that drives his "big picture" focus. He concluded, "I encourage you to write down one word to live by."

Before the new officers closed the banquet for the evening, Brogan commended her graduating senior FFAers, presenting Outstanding Senior Awards to Melinda Woods, Brianna Musel and Valerie Earley, thanking them for the hours they've dedicated to making the chapter great for their fellow FFA members.