Members of Staples Motley FFA attended their national convention in Indianapolis, IN on Oct. 19-22, earning awards for their participation. From left; advisor Kerry Lindgren, members, Brian Sterriker, Katie Benson, Rebekka Paskewitz, Molly Lindgren and Zachary Strickland.Mary Sarah Sauber, a Staples-Motley High School graduate, also attended the convention to receive the American FFA Degree. (Submitted photos)

Staples Motley FFA receives national honors

Six members of the Staples Motley FFA Chapter had the opportunity to attend and compete at the 89th National FFA Convention held in Indianapolis Oct. 19-22. 

The chapter earned the National Chapter Award and the Communications Career Development team earned a gold ranking. Brian Sterriker earned the opportunity to play with the National FFA band.

In addition, Mary Sarah Sauber, a graduate of Staples-Motley High School, earned the American FFA Degree.

Rebekka Paskewitz, Molly Lindgren and Katie Benson competed against 33 other states nationally in the National FFA Agricultural Communications Career Development Event (CDE). The top ten individuals and the national winning team members received cash awards recognizing their success in the event. 

Benson earned second place individual, Lindgren earned a silver ranking and Paskewitz earned a bronze ranking with the team ranking gold overall.

The National FFA Agricultural Communications CDE is a competitive event that tests students’ skills in all areas of the agricultural communications field and evaluates how well they can apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. Participants attend a simulated news conference and use the information gathered to complete individual practicums in writing, electronic media and design. 

Prior to the event, students compile media plans related to innovative agricultural practices, management techniques and marketing tools. Each team then creates a 15-minute presentation based on their proposal. Members also compete in an editing exercise and a general communications quiz. 

“Although it was a very long and intense contest, competing and representing your state at the national level is an honor that not many FFA members get to achieve, so that makes you appreciate this special opportunity even more,” said Lindgren.

Brian Sterriker also had a once in a lifetime opportunity to play with the National FFA Band. Sterriker submitted an audition tape and was one of the FFA members selected to help bring full instrumental balance to the band. The band performed several times adding excitement and motivation to the sessions through their music. The 83 National FFA Band members are chosen from a pool of more than 225 applications.

Although Mary Sarah Sauber is now graduated from Staples-Motley High School and is attending South Dakota State University, she had the opportunity to end her FFA career by earning the highest degree that you can receive within the National FFA Organization, the American FFA Degree. 

The American FFA Degree is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to FFA which is earned by less than one percent of FFA members. 

The National Chapter Award program recognizes FFA chapters that successfully completed an annual Program of Activities (POA), which includes a series of activities designed to encourage its members to grow as individuals, to work as part of a team and to serve others. 

Zachary Strickland won the State Farm Bureau Discussion CDE, but there is no national competition yet.He attended the convention to represent the chapter and receive the National Chapter Award on behalf of the Staples Motley FFA Chapter. The chapter received a two-star ranking. 

Besides competing, members were able to attend different sessions and hear motivational speakers like Diana Nyad and Collin Ryan. There was also a large career fair with hundreds of agricultural businesses and careers represented, along with many college booths. 

“Overall, national convention is one of the best experiences that I’ve had in FFA. We met so many incredible people on our journey and had the chance to represent Minnesota and Staples Motley well,” said Benson.


Staples World

Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100
Staples, MN 56479
Telephone: (218) 894-1112 - Fax: (218) 894-3570
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