The Grand Rapids FFA chapter had two teams place top-5 in events at the 94th National FFA Convention and Expo held in Indianapolis on Oct. 27-30.
Both Grand Rapids teams represented the state of Minnesota at the event.
The Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources team gave a presentation on waste management and placed fifth in the Environmental and Natural Resources Career Development event. The team consisted of Cole Tolrud, Tyler Curtiss, Emma Braford, and Hannah Grose of the Grand Rapids FFA.
The environmental and natural resources event allowed students to apply classroom knowledge to real-life situations. This event focuses on testing students’ problem solving and decision-making skills in
environmental and natural resources. These areas concentrate on soil profiles, water quality, waste management, and the use of global positioning units.
The Durant (Florida) FFA team placed first in the event.
In the Forestry Career Development Event, Minnesota took home fifth place with a presentation on how to prevent and combat invasive species. Minnesota’s team consisted of Eric Gunderson, Jacob Anderson, Andrew Linder, and Brock Pavelich of the Grand Rapids FFA.
The forestry event tested students’ skills and knowledge in the area of forest management. Event components include a general forest knowledge exam, tree identification, timber cruising, tree/forest disorders identification, a chainsaw practicum, forestry issues interview, and a team activity.
The Forsyth (Missouri) FFA team took home top honors.
“The adversity that these teams had to endure over the past year and half has been nothing short of amazing,” Grand Rapids FFA Advisor Shawn Linder said. “They understand what hard work means and this competition gets them prepared for the outside world when they graduate.”
Preparing for the national convention was no easy task, as several Grand Rapids team members graduated high school earlier this year. Tolrud, Curtiss, and Gunderson graduated from Grand Rapids High School this spring. The Minnesota State FFA Convention is held in the spring, and graduating seniors who qualify for the national convention can still participate through October.
Linder said it was also a challenge for many teams to bring a full roster to the competitions due to illnesses and COVID restrictions.
Linder has taught agricultural and natural resources at Grand Rapids High School for the past 20 years and this year’s two Grand Rapids FFA teams were the 19th and 20th teams to represent the state of Minnesota at the FFA National Conven