That’s A Wrap…2019 Wyoming FFA Convention in Review

by Sydnie Eller, Wyoming FFA media intern

It wouldn’t be the Wyoming FFA State Convention if the weather wasn’t bad. Despite an impending spring snowstorm, the dedicated workers of the Wyoming FFA Association pushed forward to ensure our students were safe as well as able to compete in the contests they have been preparing for over many months. Wednesday’s contests that had been scheduled in Laramie were postponed until a further date, and after the city of Cheyenne closed down the Civic Center, the schedule for the day became much different than we have seen in the past.

But FFA members and Wyomingites in general, are resilient- nothing can stop us.

Wednesday came to involve the Conduct of Chapter Meetings contest in Cheyenne, as well as the coaches meeting, and ended with the Wyoming FFA Foundation welcome dinner with games and music provided by Court Schilt for the students to enjoy.

Thursday’s schedule resumed as planned with livestock judging, State Officer candidate interviews, and the agricultural sales CDE. Wyoming also recognized it’s outstanding agriscience fair participants and proficiency award winners with a special reception. As members participated in multiple career development events throughout the day, they were also gearing up for the first ever Session 1.5 of the Wyoming FFA State Convention. We got to recognize our State Officer parents, hear 3 retiring addresses from Flint Pokorny, Jared Spencer and Sheridan Stewart, as well as hear a keynote address from our National Southern Region Vice President, Jordan Stowe.

A day late but worth the wait! The state officers opened convention with the first ever “Mega Session 1.5!”

Friday meant leadership day at the Red Lion Hotel, and with it, a long list of leadership development events. Members participated in public speaking events and workshops during the day and rolled into an exciting session.

Members got crafty with a sign making session with Table Mountain Vineyards. Members painted a sign that said Love, with the O being an FFA emblem. We LOVE that!

We awarded our LDE champions, handed out State Degree awards, and heard retiring addresses from Kylie McConnell, Dayne Bradley, and Kyle Despain. Students then got to dance the night away at the member dance held at LCCC.

Calista Duggar, Torrington-Lingle FFA, competes in the 2019 Talent competition.

On the final day of the 2019 Wyoming FFA State Convention, nerves were high. Even without results from the mechanics, agronomy, and meats competition, there were plenty of awards to announce. As members filtered in, past state officer teams enjoyed a breakfast at the Civic Center, and then we were ready to begin the day. Along with the crowning of (most) CDE champions who will represent Wyoming at National FFA Convention in October, we listened to three final retiring addresses from Brooks Woody, Abigail Mueller and Kirby Hales. We crowned our CDE sweepstakes winner, and finally our new State Officer team was elected by the Nominating Committee.

From left to right: Morgan Loepp, Karla De La Cruz, Sally Schroeder, Kaci Schmick, Leif Norskog, Lauren Gates, Rudy Nesvik, Austin Seeley and Halie Harding.

The 2019-2020 Wyoming FFA State Officer team is Parliamentarian Morgan Loepp from the Casper FFA, Sentinel Leif Norskog from the Sheridan John B. Kendrick FFA, Reporter Kaci Schmick from the Southeast FFA, Treasurer Karla de la Cruz from the Pine Bluffs FFA, Secretary Sally Schroeder from the Snowy Range FFA, 3rd Vice President Halie Harding from the Big Country FFA, 2nd Vice President Rudy Nesvik from the High Plains FFA, 1st Vice President Lauren Gates from the Douglas FFA, and President Austin Seeley from the Wright FFA.

State Convention may be over, but there are only 363 days until the next one begins! Better get to marking those practice cards.

36, 37 and counting: Ty Berry, High Plains FFA advisor with decades of success

Ty Berry - High Plains FFA Advisor

by Sydnie Eller, Wyoming FFA media intern

Ty Berry - High Plains FFA Advisor

Throughout the years, Wyoming FFA has been blessed by numerous outstanding and inspiring agricultural education teachers across our state. Our FFA advisors never fail to push their students to be the best they can be, and over the past 36 years,in the largest city in the state, Ty Berry has taken all the opportunities he could to ensure his students are succeeding in and outside the classroom. During the High Plains FFA Chapter’s fifteen years, he has been the only ag advisor after bringing a chapter to Cheyenne Central High School.

Berry has coached many CDE teams to a state championship, and at the 2017 National FFA Convention he led his Veterinary Science team to a 2nd place finish.

His secret to success? According to his students it might be that he starts every morning with Carnations Instant Breakfast- which “is like chocolate milk, but it isn’t chocolate milk.” Or it might be the fact that he always carries a Sacajawea coin and a marble in his pocket for good luck.

In his 36 years of teaching he has inspired many of his FFA members to run for a state office and has had 37 of them elected to a state office position, including newly elected state officer, Rudy Nesvik, pictured.

Despite the fact that Berry has a very long list of achievements under his belt, he’s more than the awards he and his teams have earned. Berry is always willing to go above and beyond for his family, his students, and for anyone else he may encounter that needs it.  Berry’s successes could easily define who he is, but more than anything he is known for his kind heart and ability to make anyone in a blue corduroy jacket feel comfortable and confident.

One of the people Berry has greatly influenced is a former student, and past Wyoming FFA State Officer, Aaron Kersh. Kerson first got to know Berry when he was in junior high, and he knew from the moment he met him that he was somebody he really looked up to, and to this day he is someone he wants to make proud. “Throughout high school he was one of my biggest role models and supporters- I don’t think I could have got through high school without him.” Aaron notes Berry’s dedication to his students and his family, knowing he would go above and beyond for both.

While the kind words said about Berry from students who have spent multiple years learning from him say a lot, the impact he can make on students within their freshman year alone says even more. Speaking with Cash Bohannon, a member who has only known Berry since the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year, the amount of respect Berry quickly earns from his students was obvious.

“He’s a really cool guy. He’s been teaching so long he doesn’t have to think twice about what he’s telling you- he basically knows it all. I don’t think I would have been involved in FFA this year if it wasn’t for him.”

Berry has inspired countless lives- not just his students- over his 36 years of dedication to teaching. His passion, commitment, knowledge, and love for this organization have made Berry someone that all of Wyoming FFA can look up to.

The Music Man: Court Schilt

by Sydnie Eller, Wyoming FFA media intern

Through any Wyoming FFA member’s time in this great association, there are certain things that become a familiar constant at any given state convention. The excitement of opening ceremonies, the hard-fought competitions, so many awards being announced, and for those who have attended a State Convention within the last 30 plus years,the voice who announces and builds excitement is always the same.

Court Schilt has been a dedicated volunteer to the Wyoming FFA for decades- since serving as a State Officer in 1983-1984.  And while many members know his voice from state convention, and some have seen his face at Wyoming FFA Leadership Camp, Court is more than the music man to this association.

Court is a loving husband and father of three FFA loving kids. His two oldest have already shown their own success and dedication within their years in FFA, and his youngest is just starting her FFA journey. Being a family man, and a man of faith, keeps Court grounded and pushes him to help anyone in need.

Don’t ask Court about the ways he inspires others, he’ll say it isn’t much and act like the effort he puts in to helping others is no more than anyone else would give. Yet, anyone who knows Court knows the truth.

Trey Campbell, past State Officer, put it perfectly.

“Court Schilt doesn’t realize the impact he has on other people, because it’s not a conscious effort, it’s a light that shines from him that brightens the entire world.”

Court’s strong faith in God leads his every decision, and that faith never fails to shine through. Honest, hardworking and caring, Court Schilt has been one of the most influential people and biggest blessings to Wyoming State FFA Convention and the Wyoming FFA as a whole over his many years of service.