College students honored for recreation, nursery initiatives | Peabody Gazette-Bulletin


Two Marion County FFA students received statewide recognition last week for their supervised agricultural experience programs.

Marion’s Mickelly Soyez received an Outdoor Recreation Excellence Award and Goessel’s Riley Graber received a Nursery Operation Excellence Award.

Mickelly’s award recognizes her work at Country Dreams Bed and Breakfast where she maintained a pond, docks, boats, trails, hunting stands, game cameras and ensured all water and hunting equipment met safety standards. She also worked with guests and hunters to track game.

The daughter of Michel and Sherry Soyez, she plans to attend Cottey College in Missouri, get a degree in physical therapy, and continue her tracking business with hopes of starting her own agritourism business.

Riley owns and operates Potted Paradise for which she grows several varieties of succulents, houseplants and other rare plants.

She buys cuttings and knots, plants them and waits for roots. Once rooted, she creates succulent arrangements using design principles. She then markets her products on multiple platforms.

Her parents are Justin and Kristie Graber. She plans to earn an associate’s degree and grow her plant business.

The awards were presented during the 94th Kansas FFA Convention, which ended Friday in Manhattan.

At the convention, Mickelly was joined by the center’s Quinten Bina and Tanner Stuchlik, who received state FFA degrees, the highest award bestowed by the state association.

Recipients must have been FFA members and agricultural education students for at least two years, earned at least $2,000 or worked 600 hours in a supervised agricultural experience program, delivered a six-minute presentation on agriculture or FFA, participated in eight different leadership activities, and have obtained a C-average or better in high school and have demonstrated outstanding leadership and community involvement.

Tanner was also named a Star Farmer for the state’s south-central district.