Four standout South Dakota FFA members were named FFA Stars at the state convention in Brookings this spring.
They are State Star Farmer Jarret Haven from Northwestern Area FFA, State Star in Agribusiness Kristin Kotas of Bridgewater-Emery, State Star in Ag Placement Mitchell Healy of Harrisburg and State Star in Agriscience Sadie VanderWal, also of Northewestern Area.
They were chosen from 267 students who earned the state's highest FFA degree this year. They were recognized for dedicating time to projects and enhancing their potential for future jobs by gaining hands-on experience and developing technical skills.
After a review of the students' supervised agricultural experience program and records, four finalists were selected in each category before the state convention. The finalists interviewed in front of a panel and one student was chosen in each category. Each State Star receives a $300 cash award, and the finalists each receive $75.
Star Farmer - Danielle Houghtaling, Doland; Isaac Kolousek, Wessington Springs; Brandon Volmer, Winner; and winner Jarret Haven, Northwestern.
Star in Ag Business - Camden Bialas, Parker; Kayla Smeenk, Harrisburg; Jordan Burge, Sturgis, and winner Kristin Kotas, Bridgewater-Emery.
Star in Ag Placement - Blake Olson, Parker; Kadyn Nolz, West Central; Kaysee Christensen, Beresford, and winner Mitchell Healy, Harrisburg.
Star in Agriscience - Blake Pulse, McCook Central; Connor Thaler, Beresford; Tanner Peterson, McCook Central; and winner Sadie Vanderwal, Northwestern.
District Star Greenhands are sophomores who were recognized for an outstanding start to their Supervised Agriculture Experience Project. They are: Tessa Erdmann, Groton; Kassandra Knutson, Viborg-Hurley; Laney Mackaben, Sturgis; Mitchell Vander Wal, Northwestern; and Gage Gullickson, Flandreau.