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Bartlett and Burmester Earn National Degrees

Bartlett and Burmester earn American FFA Degree
Ten Pender FFA members, along with the chapter Advisor, Mr. Bartlett, traveled to the 87th National FFA Convention in Louisville, Kentucky last week. Karlee Johnson, Rebecca McKay, Cheyenne Duenas, James Bensen, Braden Peters, Christina Svoboda, Amber English, Riley Prokop, Cole Hofmeister, and Carlie Bartlett represented the Pender FFA Chapter.  Over 60,000 FFA members and guests attended the four day convention and expo held at multiple locations, primarily the Kentucky Exposition Center. Two other members, unable to attend, were bestowed the American FFA Degree. 
The Pender members took time to watch the national finals in Creed Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, Ag Issue Forum, Marketing Plan, and Parliamentary Procedure. In addition, they visited the hall of states, Agriscience Fair, and career show. They attended three sessions and were inspired by the National Advisor challenge, the National Officer reflections, retiring addresses, and keynote speakers Nick Vujicic and Jane Herlong. Finally the chapter members enjoyed the Stars of America program and the American Degree ceremony.
Although unable to attend the convention, two Pender FFA members were honored with the American FFA Degree.  Zack Bartlett and Ben Burmester, 2013 graduates, were raised up to the highest FFA degree, along with about 3000 members nationwide.  Less than 1% of the membership earns such a degree. Zack's SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) included landscaping, lifeguard, koi production, and placement at Janke Auto.  Ben's SAE included outdoor recreation (coaching), lifeguard, placement on the family farm, and military leadership training. Very active members throughout high school, Zack and Ben each competed in National competitions, agriscience fair and creed speaking, respectively. In addition, they qualified for nationals their senior year in Parliamentary Procedure and Forestry, although did not compete due to college schedules.
In almost every year for nearly 20 years, Pender FFA members have earned the right to represent Nebraska in competitions or honor choir and band, or earned American Degrees.  The chapter congratulations Ben and Zack for carrying on this tradition. Goals were set so members will return to Louisville next year to compete rather than observe.

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