Hays High’s FFA chapter receives highest national honor


The Hays High FFA chapter traveled to Indianapolis, Ind., for their national convention earlier this fall and brought home a three-star national designation, which is the highest award given out in FFA, and it is the first ever time that the Hays High School chapter has received the award.

Twelve of the many students who participate in the Hays High FFA chapter traveled with sponsor Nikole Winter and another chaperone to the national convention, with various stops along the way, such as the St. Louis Arch, Beasley’s Orchard, Jim Dudley’s Quarter Horse Ranch and the Agriculture Hall of Fame.

“There’s a lot of work that went into this. It started last year with our 2020-2021 chapter officers filling out an application called the National Chapter Application. This application was sent onto the district, and there, they approve it to be sent onto state,” FFA chapter president junior Karli Neher said. “At the state level, we received multiple different awards. Kansas FFA chooses 10 applications to be sent and judged at a national level, and we were one of those chapters.”

Neher and senior Ross Eckroat accepted the award for Hays High in front of a crowd of 55,000 people.

“The whole trip was a highlight and will definitely be a staple in my high school memories,” Neher said. “If I had to choose just one part of the trip that was my favorite, it would be going on stage with Ross Eckroat and getting our award. It was so cool that my family and friends could watch on live TV from home.”

The local FFA chapter continues to stay involved within the community by packing bags for first responders and helping with events such as Pack the Pantry.