February 16, 2017
By David Nordby The Brillion News
BRILLION – Brillion High School senior Derek Schmidt is encompassing all of his passions into one. Farming, FFA, his faith, Brillion, football and, most importantly, helping others.
Last year while serving as treasurer of the Brillion Future Farmers of America, Schmidt attended the annual Halftime Conference, where he first heard of the “Souper Bowl,” which is an annual event that uses Super Bowl week to donate to those in need.
Schmidt kept the event in mind and this past summer attended the Washington Leadership Conference (WLC), which is the largest FFA leadership gathering in the country. At the conference students created a “Living to Serve Plan.” After brainstorming with fellow FFA members, Schmidt remembered the Souper Bowl.
“It was kind of in the backburner through the summer,” Schmidt said.
Schmidt put together a plan in December and had it approved by FFA Advisor Stacey Kunde and BHS Principal Pete Kittel, and it was off to the races.
The event ran at the high school and middle school the week of the Super Bowl, with staff members and students encouraged to donate hygiene products and non-perishable food items. Donators put their items in designated boxes for the Falcons or Patriots based on who they expected to win the big game.
The event netted 456 items that were donated to the St. Vincent DePaul Brillion Food Pantry.
“It’s just unbelievable,” Schmidt said. “It’s rewarding that I’ve been able to put it together but without the people donating – this was a hit or miss – because I cannot, by myself, make that number [of donations.]
“I’m grateful that I’m able to provide an opportunity for all my classmates to be able to give.”
The event was just one stop on what Schmidt plans to be a long road of helping others throughout his life while combining his passions, including his faith, which is where he says a lot of his outlook comes from.
Schmidt’s family owns Grand View Dairy Farm Inc. ten miles west of Brillion. The farm has expanded in recent years and now milks more than 1,200 cows. They also hosted Sundae on the Farm in 2014. Farming has been Schmidt’s passion since he was young.
Schmidt is starting a two-year agribusiness/science technology program this fall at Fox Valley Technical College. Schmidt wants to work on the farm and has a five-year plan to become a manager and, eventually, an owner and operator.
“My entire family is behind me 100 percent,” Schmidt said, another important aspect of his life. He already has long term visions for his farm too.
Please see the complete story in the February 16, 2017 edition of The Brillion News.