BLANCHESTER — The Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA chapter held its annual banquet Thursday, April 28 to celebrate a successful and much accomplished year. About 180 Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA members and guests gathered together at the Blanchester High School gymnasium for the banquet.

The banquet started with opening ceremonies, followed by a welcome from Chapter President Jacob Lansing.

Rianna Mueller and Kimberly Hurst, both Vice Presidents, recognized our special guests. Treasurer Annalee Miller-Steffen led an invocation before dinner.

Following a delicious meal, many different degrees for Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA chapter members were presented. These degrees were hard-earned and show determination of the chapter’s members.

Degrees awarded included the Greenhand FFA Degree, Chapter FFA Degree, and recognition of chapter members who have earned their State FFA Degree and American FFA Degree.

Star Scholar awards were also presented to the members with the highest grade in their agricultural classes.

Star Leader awards were presented to the members who attended the most chapter events, competitions and conventions/conferences. The Star 8th-Grade leader went to Olivia Hatter; Star Freshman Leader to Abby Kaehler; Star Sophomore Leaders to Kimberly Hurst and Greta Quigley; Star Junior Leader to Andrew Osborn; and Star Senior Leader to Jacob Lansing.

During the Salesmanship Recognition, the Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA recognized the top salesmen for the fundraisers throughout the year. Members who participated in Career and Leadership Development Events (CDEs) were recognized and given certificates and special awards.

During Special Recognition Mr. Eric Heeg and Mr. Matthew Younker, the Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA advisors, talked about the current chapter officers.

Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA has been honored by being named a Top Ten finalist for the National Model of Excellence award, as well as a Top Ten finalist for the Overall Ohio Premier FFA Chapter, Top Ten finalist in the Growing Leaders division, and Top Ten finalist in the Building Communities division of the Program of Activities.

The results for the State awards will be announced at the Ohio FFA Convention this week.

Chapter Proficiency Awards were given to members who have satisfactory records for their Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) through AET. Jacob Lansing received the Agricultural Mechanics, Repair, & Maintenance Proficiency Award; Andrew Osborn the Beef Production Proficiency Award; Rianna Mueller the Equine Science Proficiency Award; Autum Medley the Nursery Operations Proficiency Award; Anna Davis the Poultry Production Proficiency Award; Jacob Lansing the Sheep Production Proficiency Award and the Small Animal Production & Care Proficiency Award; Ava Wright the Swine Production Proficiency Award; and Autum Medley received the Veterinary Science Proficiency Award.

Top Member awards for each grade level were also presented, and went to the following individuals; Olivia Hatter received the Star 1st-Year-Member award; Star 2nd-Year-Member went to Ava Wright; Star 3rd-Year-Member went to Andrew Osborn; Star 4th-Year-Member went to Jacob Lansing; and Star 5th-Year-Member went to Autum Medley.

Scholarships were also awarded to FFA seniors Jacob Lansing and Rianna Mueller.

Seniors were honored with a hearty round of applause and a senior slideshow. Following the slideshow, the 2021-2022 officers were recognized and thanked by the chapter. President Jacob Lansing, a senior, gave his retiring address.

To conclude the evening, the 2022-2023 Blanchester Great-Oaks FFA officers were introduced. Kimberly Hurst is the new President, Gracie Kaehler VP of Agriculture, Aubrie Panetta iVP of Communities, Greta Quigley VP of Leadership, new Secretary is Olivia Hatter, the new Reporters are Haley Sawyer and Janelle Whitaker, and the new Sentinel is Abbi Scott.

Blanchester-Great Oaks FFA is excited to see what these officers can do, as well as all the other chapter members in the upcoming year.

Blanchester-Great Oaks members and advisors at the annual banquet. Oaks members and advisors at the annual banquet. Submitted photo

By Janelle Whitaker

FFA chapter reporter