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Martin Co. West student earns rare FFA award

Emily Matejka

SHERBURN — Martin County West senior Emily Matejka recently learned during a virtual state FFA convention that she is a State Star in Agribusiness.

Matejka’s adviser, Martin County West ag teacher Stephanie Wohlhuter, said the award is a big deal in the FFA world, with only four seniors in Minnesota named Stars.

“I have witnessed Emily’s growth as a leader each year that she has been in the FFA, and the leadership skills that she demonstrated this year as a senior were incredibly impressive,” Wohlhuter said. “She is very responsible, creative and excited about getting other people involved, and those characteristics carry over to each activity that she was a part of in the FFA. Minnesota FFA couldn’t have selected a stronger candidate for their Star in Agribusiness award.”

“I was super happy and excited,” Matejka said of winning the honor. “I’ve worked toward getting my state degree for basically my whole FFA career. I never envisioned that the State Star in Agribusiness would be a part of my goal set moving forward, and it was really awesome to go through my state degree process, advance through the region level, and even the state level.

“It was something I never imagined. I’d always seen the kids at the state convention up on stage receiving their stars, and I never thought that was something I would be able to accomplish.”

Matejka said being in FFA has been a rewarding experience.

“I started off in seventh and eighth grade getting my feet wet and seeing what FFA was all about,” she said. “I did some chapter activities, and then in ninth and 10th grade, I started getting involved serving on my officer team. So as a freshman I was the chapter historian, then I was the chapter secretary, and then I was the chapter president.

“More recently, I got involved at the regional level. I ran for region office, and this past year I served as the Region 6 vice president. That was a really rewarding experience, and I got to connect with members all over the region and do chapter visits.

“I also met people from all over the state. I got really close with some of the state officers. I went to a couple of state camps, and I served at the Miracle of Birth Center at the state fair last year.”

Matejka is grateful for inspiration from other FFA students, as well as all the support, help and advice she has received.

“I’d like to thank my three advisers, Mrs. Wohlhuter and Mr. and Mrs. Daberkow,” she said. “They encouraged me to expand my horizons in FFA and were always pushing me to do more than I ever could have thought to accomplish and achieve great things in FFA. They’ve been a really big part of my FFA family and it’s been a great experience to get to know them.

“I’d also like to thank my parents, Roger and Rita Matejka, for always supporting me through all my activities, making the time to help me get to all these things, and help me achieve all the amazing things that I have. Without their support, I could not have done it.

“I also want to thank my employer, Kevin Moore, who was the one who got my employment started at the area where I logged the hours to earn this award. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be employed at Moore and ACE Hardware in Trimont, and for him teaching me so many things about hardware and retail. He gave me the platform to succeed in FFA and my future employment outlook.”

Matejka plans to attend South Dakota State University in Brookings and double major in agricultural communications and animal science.

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