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Spotlight on Youth - September 12, 2018

FFA members named to 54th class of Presidential Scholars

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Four Midwest FFA members were named U.S. Presidential Scholars – one of the nation’s highest honors for high school students – for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education. Each year, up to 161 students receive this honor.

The scholars from this area are: Connor K. Erbsen of Lanark, Ill., member of Eastland FFA Chapter; Lane Hilgenhold of Tell City, Ind., member of Perry Central FFA Chapter; Caleb L. Lines of Nashua, Iowa, member of the Nashua-Plainfield FFA Chapter; and Caitlin Henne of Eaton Rapids, Mich., member of the Springport FFA Chapter.

Established in 1964 by executive order of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the U.S. Presidential Scholars program was created with the intent to recognize the nation's most distinguished high school graduating seniors. In 2015, the program was expanded to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education.

Overseen by the Commission on Presidential Scholars, the program is administered by staff at the U.S. Department of Education. The commission selects honored scholars annually based on their academic success, artistic excellence, essays, school evaluations and transcripts, as well as evidence of community service and leadership. Each honoree is invited to attend a recognition program on June 24 in Washington, D.C.

"This recognition demonstrates the students’ ability to balance their academic work while making a positive difference in their schools and communities," said National FFA Advisor Dr. Steve Brown. "As an FFA member, these students went above and beyond expectations that are set. They are living out the mission and vision of the organization each day."

Holcomb announces Indiana’s STEM team award winners

(mug in 6421)

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — This summer, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb, Superintendent of Public Instruction Dr. Jennifer McCormick and Treasurer Kelly Mitchell announced the winners of the 2018 Governor’s STEM Team awards.

The awards highlight Indiana’s elite high school students for their work in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Each winner received a $1,000 college scholarship through Indiana’s CollegeChoice 529 Direct Savings Plan and letterman jackets identifying them.

Science winner John Dalloul attended Terre Haute South Vigo High School. He hopes to attend Stanford or Princeton University to study medicine and continue helping others.

Technology winner Abraham Oliver attended Brown County High School and was valedictorian of his class. He has plans to attend Stanford University in the fall to study computer science and math. His future plans include becoming a computer science researcher and using technology in policy.

Engineering winner Megan Singer attended Carmel High School. She plans to attend Purdue University in the fall and follow in her father’s footsteps as an engineer.

Math winner Trevor Vogel attended Jennings County High School and lives on a 35-acre farm operated by his uncle and grandfather. He plans to attend Indiana State University to study mathematics. After earning a graduate degree, he hopes to share his knowledge in math as a professor at an Indiana college or university.

Three FFA chapters awarded funds from Culver’s in contest

PRAIRIE DU SAC, Wis. — This year the Culver’s Essay Contest asked FFA members to write about the 2017 National FFA Convention theme, “I Can. We Will.”

FFA members were asked to share what the theme means to them and how they’ll apply it to their future career. The winners’ chapters received a total of $15,000 from Culver’s to help fund educational experiences, including a trip to the 2018 National FFA Convention & Expo in Indianapolis, Oct. 24-27.

•First place ($7,500): Luke J.’s Felicity-Franklin FFA Chapter in Ohio

•Second place ($5,000): Kaitlyn H.’s Mt. Vernon FFA Chapter in Illinois

•Third place ($2,500): Clayton B.’s Burley FFA Chapter in Idaho

The essay contest is a part of Culver’s Thank you Farmers Project, which recognizes how vital agriculture is to feeding our country’s growing population and works to make a difference by donating money to agricultural education programs, like the FFA, that encourage smart farming.

To date, the Thank you Farmers Project has raised nearly $2 million in support of the National FFA Organization, local FFA chapters and a variety of local agriculture organizations.

Champions crowned at Indiana State Fair 4-H Grand Drive

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Several exhibitors finished as Grand and Reserve Grand Champions at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on August 5, during the 2018 Indiana State Fair Grand Drive presented by Farm Credit Mid-America.

At the event, 4-H members showed livestock of various species, weights and classes. Categories included Dairy Steer, Meat Goat Wether, Sheep, Rabbit Meat Pen, Market Barrow, Beef Heifer and Beef Steer.

The Grand Champions are:

•Dairy Steer: Kale Beer, Class 1

•Meat Goat Wether: Spencer Goattemiller, Heavyweight

•Market Sheep: Lane Slaton, Blackface Cross

•Rabbit Meat Pen: Brooke Kneubuhler

•Market Barrow: Hadley Hendrickson, Crossbred

•Beef Heifer: Mercedes Ferree, Angus

•Beef Steer:  Hadley Hendrickson, Crossbred

Reserve Grand Champions are:

•Meat Goat Wether: Maxwell Scamihorn, Middleweight

•Sheep: Gabrielle Raute, Reserve Blackface Cross

•Market Barrow: Lakyn Mauck, Berkshire

•Beef Heifer: Addison Walther

•Beef Steer: Harlee Henney, Reserve Crossbred

Approximately $100,000 is raised by the Indiana State Fair Foundation, the Indiana State Fair’s nonprofit arm, to provide monetary awards for winners. Top-placing 4-H members will be recognized for their hard work at the Celebration of Champions event August 19 at the Coliseum.

Ohio Christmas Tree group awards Graham a scholarship

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FRAZEYSBURG, Ohio — The Ohio Christmas Tree Assoc. (OCTA) has selected Chelsea Graham of Licking County as the recipient of its scholarship.

Graham is a graduate of Licking Valley High School, where she served as the class president for three years and was a member of the Student Council, National Honor Society, Student Leadership Team and Senior Leader.

She also participated in the school’s basketball program for two years and served as a coach for the biddy league program. She participated in the College Credit Plus Program in high school, as well, and was involved in the Valley Traditions 4-H Club, serving as president for the past three years.

Her 4-H projects ranged from the livestock area to the special interest area. As a member of the 4-H program, she was a member of the Food and Fashion Board and represented the county at the Ohio State Fair, where she won Outstanding of the Day and the Clock trophy award many times.

Graham is beginning Bradford College this fall to obtain a degree as a veterinarian technician.

Michigan Ag in the Classroom gets grant for FARM Labs

PALM COAST, Fla. — The National Agriculture in the Classroom Organization (NAITCO) has selected six state Agriculture in the Classroom projects for funding as part of a competitive program called “Fire-Up Grants” to support the growth of agricultural literacy in K-12 classrooms across the country.

Funding for the competitive grants program came from the USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). Projects selected for funding include a Jump Up Grant to Michigan Farm Bureau’s Agriculture in the Classroom.

This will fund regional workshops to train educators to run the mobile FARM Science Labs developed by the Michigan AITC program, which travel to schools across the state to educate K-5 students about Michigan agriculture.