Whitney Rupprecht is poised to be hired as an Industrial Technology Teacher at Crookston High School.

Jess Bengtson    Assistant Editor

Fertile-Beltrami School Agriculture Education teacher and FFA Advisor Whitney Rupprecht shared with the Times that she recently asked four of her FFA student officers over video chat during distance learning to provide some background on when and why they joined FFA, what they’ve learned, what was their favorite thing about the program and what advice they give to incoming FFA members in seventh and eighth grade. 

Rupprecht, who resigned from her positions at Fertile-Beltrami March 16, was on the Crookston School Board’s agenda Monday to be approved as a new Industrial Technology teacher. 

In a letter to her students March 18, Rupprecht said she has been able to grow as a teacher and mentor over the last seven years at the school and credits the students for what they’ve taught her. 

“You have all truly made this the best year at FB and I am incredibly honored to be your teacher,” she wrote to her current students that include FFA members from the video, Emma E., Caidyn J., Jacqueline L., and Catherine E. 

Here’s what the four FFA members had to say in the video: 

When did you join FFA?

• Emma E. - “I started in 7th grade after my cousin Katie asked if I wanted to do a “super fun” thing called “General Livestock” so I tried it and loved it. Then I tried “Creed” and went to State and got 6th place. I’ve also participated in “Parli” (parliamentary procedure), became a region officer for 2019-20, had a lot of great experiences and want to continue to senior year.”

• Caidyn J. - “I had a study hall in the Ag room and saw on the board a question asking if we wanted a place to belong so I joined in the 8th grade. My first competition was Creed speaking, it was stressful to memorize five paragraphs. I moved on to other competitions like Parliamentary Procedure, it felt professional. I’ve also been serving on the Region team. Last year I was Region 1 sentinel and this year Region 1 reporter.”

• Jacqueline L. - “I joined in 7th grade thanks to Caidyn. I was begged to do a small animals event and didn’t think it was my thing. I was really shy, but I caved in and really enjoyed it. I have  become more loud and confident. I’ve also done Parli and we did go to nationals.” 

• Catherine E. - “I started in 7th grade, my mom and dad were both in FFA. I started out with general livestock and didn’t want to do any public speaking. I signed up for novice Parli, later on did soils, public speaking. I applied for chapter office and my first year I was an officer at large and second year vice president. This year I’m a Parliamentarian and like being a leader in FFA.” 

What’s the number one thing you’ve taken away from being a part of FFA?

• Emma - “Leadership skills and being comfortable in my own skin; feeling worthy of whatever I’m doing.”

• Caidyn - “The amount of connections you can make, people I’ve met from other schools and mingling. I’m excited to take that into the future.”

• Jacqueline - “It’s my confidence. FFA lets me be myself and not care what other people think.”

• Catherine - “My speaking skills. Before FFA I was probably not the best speaker and real quiet. I didn’t want to do it and these programs helped me.”

What is your favorite thing you’ve done in FFA?

• Emma - “The Creed for sure. I felt super comfortable after my first year and felt that I could do anything in the world and conquer anything.”

• Caidyn - “Three things: SLCCL (State Leadership Conference for Chapter Leaders) was definitely a major highlight over the summer and was a humongous opportunity. Other favorite thing was I created an FFA wall and put up interesting things I’ve found.”

• Jacqueline - “My favorite thing was the barn dance. I got to introduce people to things done for FFA and I enjoyed the state officers coming down.”

• Catherine - “Either the Ag Science Fair or livestock because animals are my favorite thing, and I can interact with my animals.” 

What is one thing you want to do before you graduate?

• Caidyn - “I want to be in a state office on the state level and get to see amazing leaders at nationals.”

• Emma - “Two goals: Reapply for region office my senior year and go to the national FFA talent contest again.”

• Jacqueline - “I want to be confident. You can get a lot of things from FFA and I know FFA can help me accomplish new things.”

• Catherine - “Go to nationals again.”

What are your plans for the future and what is one piece of advice you’d offer an incoming 7th grader?

• Emma - “Continue what I’m doing in FFA and continue to lead. Beyond that, college at UMC and hope to do something in Ag. For the 7th-8th graders: Dive in headfirst. You’re capable of anything and reach out to us officers; we are here for you.”

• Caidyn - “Main goal I’m working on is state office and I’m also in the process of applying for PSEO at UMC so I can finish most of his generals and then get a degree in Ag Ed and go into a career there. To 7th-8th graders: Take time and be yourself, and if you took the time to find out about FFA you will become a leader. Find out what you have in you.”

• Jacqueline - “Continue to become more confident and grow in FFA. I know I want to go to college away from Minnesota and go into social work. I want to help kids who are going through tough times. To 7th-8th graders: Be someone you can rely on and someone your friend can always come up to.”

• Catherine - “I want to be region officer and go to college for animal nutrition with hopes to become a vet. To 7th-8th graders: You don’t have to live on a farm to be in FFA, it’s much more than Ag based. You could live in town and do public speaking and even Creed or Parli, and just try something you maybe feel comfortable doing your first year and then the next year something out of your comfort zone.”

At the end of the video, Rupprecht said those were just four of the school’s “amazing” FFA members.

“It’s a super small collective of our awesome high school. They all have different backgrounds and different stories.”