News: Neillsville -
Graduates Earn State FFA Degree (2021)
Contact: Dolores (Mohr) Kenyon
Surnames: Balderas, Curtin
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI) 6/16/2021
Two Neillsville Graduates Earn State FFA (2021)
Isaac Balderas, (left) and Chase Curtin, both graduates of Neillsville High School have completed the requirements and earned the State FFA Degree. In July, they will be presented with their degrees at the State FFA Convention.
Two Neillsville Youth have earned an award given to top members of the Wisconsin FFA Association. Isaac Balderas and Chase Curtin have each earned their State FFA Degree. The will be honored July 7 at the Wisconsin State FFA Convention at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.
The State FFA Degree is the second-highest degree of the five degrees an FFA member can earn. The highest is the American Degree. Members must complete the Greenhand and Chapter degrees before applying for the State Degree.
Balderas and Curtin, both recent graduates, had to meet a number of requirements to be eligible for their State FFA Degrees. Requirements include having been an active FFA member for at least two years at the time of receiving the State FFA Degree; having completed at least two years of systematic school instruction in agricultural education at or above the ninth grade level, which includes a super vised agriculture experiences (SAE); having earned and productively invested at least $1,000 or have worked at least 300 hours outside of scheduled class time through an SAE.
Balderas has a diversified livestock SAE. He has raised hogs, exhibited dairy cattle at the fair and worked on local dairy farms. Curtin’s SAE is in food service. He is employed at Hardee’s.
Additionally, State FFA Degree recipients must have demonstrated leadership ability by performing 10 parliamentary law procedures, giving a six-minute speech on a topic relating to agriculture or FFA, and serving as an FFA officer, committee chairperson or committee member. They also must have a “satisfactory academic record,” as certified by the agriculture teacher and the school principal or superintendent.
The students must also have participated in the planning and implementation of the chapter’s program of activities and participated in at least five different FFA activities above the chapter level.
Neillsville FFA and advisor Amy Gerhardt said that both Curtin and Balderas were “very active” on the chapter level.
Balderas served as chapter reporter [in] 2019-21. He also represented his chapter at the National FFA Convention. He was recognized as the Marshfield Area Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Agriculture Student for 2021.
Curtin has participated in local fundraisers and attended leadership conferences, including the National FFA Convention.
One other requirement for the State FFA Degree is to complete at least 25 hours of community service in a minimum of two different activities. All community service hours are cumulative, so for example the 10 community service hours used to obtain the Chapter Degree can be used toward the State Degree.
Balderas’ community service projects have included cleaning up garbage through the Adopt-A-Highway program, volunteering at dairy breakfasts, giving farm tours to fourth graders and volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House..
Curtin has served the community through volunteering at the food pantry and humane society and helping at dairy breakfasts and the ice cream stand at the Clark County Fair.
Balderas is employed at Northside Elevator in the bulk feed delivery department. He plans to attend Chippewa Valley Technical College to study agronomy.
Curtin plans to continue working at Hardee’s, with the possibility of going on to technical college or vocational college if he finds a career path he becomes passionate about. He also plans to continue volunteering as time allows.
Editor Valorie Brecht contributed to this report.
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