(INDIANAPOLIS) – The Indiana FFA Association and the Indiana State Department of Agriculture, in partnership with Nationwide Insurance and Farm Credit Mid-America, have selected eight Indiana FFA agriculture educators as nominees for a Golden Owl Award. Nationwide established the Golden Owl Award to honor teachers and support them with additional resources to assist their continued educational efforts in preparing the next generation for successful agricultural careers.
“Our agricultural educators have committed so much extra time and resources to their students this year, with re-planning almost every FFA event and reworking lessons plans to become virtual, I am thankful that Nationwide Insurance and Farm Credit Mid-America allowed us the opportunity to give back to them,” said Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch. “I appreciated the opportunity to participate in awarding these eight deserving Hoosier educators.”
The eight finalists were awarded $500 and a plaque in recognition of this honor. The selected winner of the Golden Owl award will be announced in June at this year’s Indiana FFA State Convention and will receive $3,000.
“We are fortunate to have so many exceptional agriculture educators across the state that work tirelessly to ensure their students are successful,” said Samantha Miller, Indiana FFA director. “This award is a way for us to honor and recognize the important work these ag teachers are doing and the positive impacts they are making on their student’s lives.”
The Golden Owl Award began with Nationwide Insurance in 2018 and has participation from FFA organizations in seven states. This is Indiana’s first year participating in the award program. The award is set to raise awareness of the importance of agricultural education and the tremendous contributions of teachers.
“Anytime we can celebrate the purposeful, difference-making role that our educators play in the lives of students, we should. I am thrilled to join in the celebration of these Hoosier teachers who are earning the Golden Owl Award,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Our agriculture teachers are innovating every day to help students build important leadership and life skills for their future. It’s critical that we continue to support these important career-centered programs, their educators and their students.”
Indiana State Department of Agriculture Director Bruce Kettler recognized the importance of these educators and is looking forward to honoring more agriculture educators in the future.
“Indiana agriculture is so fortunate to have some of the most elite educators cultivating the next generation of agriculturists for our state,” said ISDA Director Bruce Kettler. “This is the first year Indiana has participated in this program and I look forward to honoring these deserving teachers for many years to come.”
Out of 81 nominees the eight below were chosen to move into the finals.
- Amy Beer, NorthWood High School
- Mike Jones, Adams Central High School
- Erin Padgett, South Ripley High School
- Gabe Nobbe, Connersville High School
- Travis Scherer, Tri-County High School
- Haley Verhaeghe, Tri-County High School
- Tori McCreary, Mooresville High School
- Dale Griffin, Rossville High School