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New Jersey State FFA Association
Honors Members at 72nd Annual Convention
For Immediate Release: Contact:

Hope Gruzlovic

More than 450 FFA members, advisors and guests attended the 72nd annual New Jersey State FFA Convention at Cook College, New Brunswick, in May. During the three-day convention, FFA members from across the state gathered to conduct business and honor fellow members for their achievements, culminating with the election of the new State FFA Officer team.

More than $5,000 in college scholarships was awarded to FFA members, with an additional $3,500 in awards presented to FFA chapters and individuals. Scholarships and awards were sponsored by the State and National FFA Foundations, the State FFA Association and other agricultural organizations. FFA is a national organization of more than 447,247 members preparing for leadership and careers in the science, business and technology of agriculture. More importantly, FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.


  • FFA Week Award: 1st Place receiving $100 and a plaque was the Woodstown FFA Chapter. The FFA Week Award is presented to the chapter that has an outstanding program of activities for its school and community during National FFA Week.

    The 2000-01 NJ FFA Member of the Year was Sara Colson of the Woodstown FFA Chapter. Sara was chosen for this award based on her Supervised Agricultural Experience program and her participation in FFA Activities on the local, state and national level.

  • Proficiency Awards: A Proficiency Award is presented to a member who has displayed outstanding leadership and development in his/her Supervised Agricultural Experience program (SAE). Each of the following members received a Proficiency Award from one of 49 different project areas:

    • Agricultural Sales and/or Service - Placement - Amy L. Newkirk of the Cumberland FFA Chapter Dairy Production - Placement - Matthew Turner of the Cumberland FFA Chapter Equine Science- Placement- Becky Longmuir of the Freehold FFA Chapter; Entrepreneurship - Miki Zdanuk of the Penns Grove FFA Chapter Floriculture - Placement- Karen D. Brown of the Union County FFA Chapter Home and/or Community Development - Placement- Justin A. Wilson of the Penns Grove FFA Chapter Landscape Management - Placement- Chris Hepner of the Cumberland FFA Chapter Nursery Operations- Placement- Donald Johnson III of the Cumberland FFA Chapter Outdoor Recreation- Placement- Gregory Babbitt of the Newton FFA Chapter Sheep Production - Placement- Michael Sodtalbers of the Warren Hills FFA Chapter Specialty Crop Production - Placement- John Coombs of the Woodstown FFA Chapter
    • Vegetable Production - Placement- Michael Brooks of the Woodstown FFA Chapter

NJ FFA Essay - The purpose of the State FFA Essay contest is to develop strong writing skills in members. Content, grammar, and mechanics are graded equally, because these are all important elements of writing. All essays are written on current subjects that are of agricultural nature and of general interest to the public. The winners were:

Division 1 winner -David Burnett, Atlantic County FFA Chapter

Division 3 winner - Ed Kijowski, Piscataway FFA Chapter

The H.O. Sampson Trophy is awarded annually to the FFA chapter that consistently shows excellence in Career Development Events throughout the year. The Allentown FFA Chapter, of Monmouth County, was presented this prestigious award. The Agriscience Teacher of the Year Award recognizes an outstanding agricultural educator who emphasizes science concepts, principles and applications. The FFA Advisor of the Year Award recognizes the Chapter Advisor who provides guidance and inspiration for a successful FFA Chapter. Both awards were presented to Robin C. McLean of the Penns Grove FFA Chapter. The Superior Chapter Award is awarded to a Chapter that conducts a well-rounded program of activities in their school or community. The Superior Chapters are:

Atlantic County
BCIT - Medford
BCIT - Westampton
Bergen County
Camden Tech East
Cape May
Gloucester County
Hunterdon Polytech - Voorhees
Northern Burlington
North Warren
Penns Grove
South Hunterdon
Sussex Tech
Union County
Warren Hills
West Essex

National Emblem Chapters: The National Emblem Chapter Awards are given to the top chapters that have received a Superior Chapter rating. Those chapters have organized and conducted an exceptional FFA program for their members. The winners are:

Gold - 1) Allentown
2) Woodstown
3) Penns Grove
Silver - Newton, North Warren, Atlantic County and Northern Burlington
Bronze - Bergen County and Burlington County Institute of Technology - Westampton
  • WLC Scholarship- Jennifeur Wilson of the Northern Burlington FFA Chapter was awarded a special scholarship to attend the Washington Leadership Conference this summer in Washington D.C., where she will participate in personal development and leadership workshops. The New Jersey FFA Alumni Association sponsored the scholarship.

  • State and National FFA Scholarships are awarded to FFA members based on academic merit, school activities, and FFA participation and leadership. The following students were awarded state FFA scholarships:

    • $2,000 BASF Scholarship
      Erin Zukus, Allentown FFA Chapter

      $1250 Norman J. Schnetzer Memorial Scholarship
      Sara Colson, Woodstown FFA Chapter

      $500 Atlantic Grange # 216 Scholarship
      John Coombs, Woodstown FFA Chapter

      $300 Phillip Alampi Scholarship
      Sara Colson, Woodstown FFA Chapter

      $150 John Cummings Scholarship
      Brian Dalbow, Penns Grove FFA Chapter

      $70 William G. Smith Memorial Scholarship
      Adrianna Aragona, Union County FFA Chapter

      $100 Harry S. Schnieber Scholarship
      Mark Napolitano, Freehold FFA Chapter

      $100 Stephen A. Tucker Scholarship
      Louisa Sidwa, Woodstown FFA Chapter

      $400 C. Fred Lorenzo Scholarship
      Susan Stecker, Belvidere FFA Chapter

      $225 Woodstown Senior Award
      Lesley Bishop, Woodstown FFA Chapter

      $200 Washington Grange #117 Scholarship
      Erin Zukus, Allentown FFA Chapter

      $125 Atlantic Board of Agriculture Local Scholarship
      Michael Genovese, Buena FFA Chapter

      Princeton Agricultural Association Outstanding FFA Leadership Award
      Melissa Mulcahy, Piscataway FFA Chapter and Brian Skillman, South Hunterdon FFA Chapter

    • $7,500 Delaware Valley College Scholarship for State Officers
      Michael Butler, Newton; Erin Zukus, Allentown; Patty Fanella, Newton; Nichole Steward, Northern Burlington; Dawn Kaufman, Oakcrest; and Laura Cooper, HPT-Central.

National FFA Scholarships:

  • $1000 Pennzoil - Quaker State Company Scholarship
    Greg Babbitt, Newton FFA Chapter

    $500 Quality Stores, Inc. Scholarship
    Sara Colson, Woodstown FFA Chapter

    $500 Daimler Chrysler Corporation Fund - Dodge Trucks Scholarship
    Willow Kessler, North Warren FFA Chapter

    Most Improved Chapter: The Most Improved Chapter Award recognizes the chapter that has improved or increased its FFA program of activities over the past year. The 2001 Most Improved Chapter is the Burlington County Institute of Technology - Medford FFA Chapter.

    The Star State Greenhand FFA Award is awarded to an outstanding first year member who was awarded Star Greenhand from their chapter. The 2001 winner is Ryan Chiste of the Allentown FFA Chapter.

    The Star State Chapter FFA Award recognizes a New Jersey FFA member who has been outstanding in terms of leadership skills, involvement in chapter activities, and his/her Supervised Agricultural Experience project. The 2001 winner, with a project in the area of Agribusiness, is Karen Fiscor of the Allentown FFA Chapter.

  • Membership Awards - The National FFA Organization provides recognition for chapters with the highest number of members. Chapter Membership Data reflected the following:

    • Highest Membership - Penns Grove FFA Chapter, with 357 members

The New Jersey FFA Association membership totals over 2,000 members. There are 38 FFA chapters in New Jersey.

  • Agricultural Awareness Award: 1st Place receiving a cash award and a plaque was the North Warren FFA Chapter. The Agricultural Awareness Program is designed to encourage FFA Chapters to teach elementary school children where our food comes from.

    Public Relations Event: 1st Place receiving a cash award and a plaque was the Woodstown FFA Chapter. The Public Relations Award Program is designed to encourage chapters to promote FFA and Agricultural Education within their schools and communities.

    Extemporaneous Public Speaking: The first place Extemporaneous Public Speaker was Greg Babbitt, Newton FFA Chapter. He was given an agricultural topic, had 30 minutes to produce a speech and present it to a panel of judges. He will compete at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY in October.

    6-8 Minute Prepared Public Speaking Event: The first place Prepared Public Speaker was Jennifeur Wilson, Northern Burlington FFA Chapter. She will compete at the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY in October.

    3-5 Minute Prepared Public Speaking Event: The winner of the 3-5 Minute Prepared Public Speaking Event was James Luckey, Newton FFA Chapter.

    Creed Winner: Rebecca Schnetzer, Warren Hills FFA Chapter placed first in the Creed Event receiving a $100 check and a plaque. This event requires contestants to memorize and deliver the FFA Creed, then answer questions from a panel of judges. She will compete in the National FFA Convention in Louisville, KY in October.

    The winner of the Dr. Charles C. Drawbaugh Parliamentary Procedure Event was the Penns Grove FFA Chapter.

  • The Official FFA Ceremonies Event was developed to encourage excellence in presenting FFA Opening and Closing Ceremonies for chapter officers, as well as in conducting other special ceremonies. The 1st place Official Ceremonies Team was the Allentown FFA Chapter.

Events conducted at the convention and winners:

Scrapbook Award- Woodstown FFA Chapter
Portable Exhibit- Woodstown FFA Chapter
Secretary of the Year Award- David Burnett, Atlantic Co. FFA Chapter
Treasurer of the Year Award- Mary Colson, Woodstown FFA Chapter
Job Interview Event- Agnes-Marie Garner, Woodstown FFA Chapter
Tractor Driving Event- Matt Baley, North Warren FFA Chapter
Landscape Design Event- Kristina Thyren, Sussex Tech. FFA Chapter

Demonstration Career Development Event: Students have the opportunity to conduct a presentation on any agriculturally-related topic. Students may compete in the Team or Individual Events.

1st place team - BCIT-Medford FFA Chapter
1st place individual - Branden Smith, Cape May FFA Chapter

State FFA Degrees - Fifty-three (53) FFA members received their State FFA degrees, the highest degree a state can bestow upon its members. Out of those 53 candidates, one member was recognized with the Star State Placement Award: Christopher Delaney, Woodstown FFA Chapter, and one member received the Star State Farmer Award: Heather Waters, Belvidere FFA Chapter.

Allentown James H. Bruins
BCIT - Westampton Alison S. Brenner, Amanda L. Haines, Michael D. Hall, Gina D. Marisi, Megan M. McCord
Belvidere Adam R. Gangaware, Heather L. Waters
Buena Michael F. Genovese, Pamela M. Hermann,
Matthew L. Richardson
Camden-Pennsauken Isha Elias, Shante M. Lee, Salena M. Mendez, Priscilla Quiles
Cumberland Donald M. Johnson III, Amy L. Newkirk
Freehold Mark Napolitano
HPT - Voorhees Crystal A. Bauer, Meghann C. Burke
Newton William J. Cuff, Matthew A. Dunbar, Ryan A. Henion, Matthew Moorman, Brian Mueller, David O. Snyder
North Warren Willow S. Kessler
Northern Burlington Jennifeur L. Wilson
Oakcrest Shantay D. Barley
Penns Grove Brian W. Dalbow, Robert Gioia, Ainslie M. Grim, Christina M. Proud, Justin A. Wilson, Miki E. Zdanuk
Piscataway Paul A. Medina, Melissa Mulcahy
South Hunterdon Brian P. Skillman, Eric S. Teschke
Sussex County Mark A. Richter, Kristina J. Thyren
Union County Leyna A. Fragoso, Niya M. Lassiter, Jessica L. Messina
Warren Hills Malissa L. Anema
Woodstown Lesley A. Bishop, Elizabeth M. Cobb, Sara E. Colson, Agnes-Marie L. Garner, Kathryn C. Harris, John H. Coombs, Christopher R. Delaney, Louisa M. Sidwa