CHS updates

Wisconsin ag teacher wins top CHS Foundation grant

People posing in front of the CHS Foundation 75 Years logo, holding large checks for $20,000, $15,000 and $10,000

At the CHS Annual Meeting, attendees voted to award a $10,000 teacher grant from the CHS Foundation to Sioux Falls Career and Technical Education Academy in Sioux Falls, S.D.; $15,000 to Wyndmere High School in Wyndmere, N.D.; and $20,000 to Osseo-Fairchild School District in Osseo, Wis.

Dec 01, 2022

At the CHS Annual Meeting tonight, attendees voted to award a $20,000 first-place teacher grant from the CHS Foundation to Amelia Hayden, a first-year ag educator at Osseo-Fairchild High School. In honor of its 75-year anniversary, the foundation is awarding a total of $75,000 in grants for K-12 teachers to implement projects that will engage students in experiential agricultural education. 

"The first thing I thought when I found out I won was, 'I can't wait to tell my students!'" says Hayden. "It's truly about the students I work with every day and giving them top-of-the-line experiences that are going to prepare them for their future careers."

Hayden will use funds to educate students about biotechnology in agriculture. More than 150 students will use new equipment to perform plant science, gene editing and evaluation experiments. As a result, students will better understand the benefits of biotechnology and be prepared for careers in the ag industry.

Watch a short video of Hayden moments after winning the top teacher grant:

The second-place grant of $15,000 was awarded to Wyndmere High School in Wyndmere, N.D. Desi Severance, ag instructor at the high school, will use funds to build a mobile produce processing lab and implement an ag processing curriculum. More than 150 students from eight local ag programs will learn hands-on food processing, preservation and food safety skills using food grown in the school’s greenhouse.

The third-place grant of $10,000 goes to Sioux Falls Career and Technical Education Academy. Andrew Jensen, an agriculture teacher, will use the funds a new ag program and the first in South Dakota’s largest school district. Funds will be used to purchase a high tunnel and hog farrowing pens, giving hundreds of students hands-on learning in plant and animal science. Classes will also be livestreamed to give students across the district a peek into agriculture — a world many have never seen before.

Twelve honorable mention finalists were previously selected to receive $2,500:

  • Kevin Cross, Sullivan High School, Sullivan, Ind. — “It’s Tractor Time”
  • Breanna Pastir, Southeast Region Career and Technology Center, Wahpeton, N.D. — “Learning to Infinity and Beyond”
  • Shannon Miller, R.L. Turner High School, Carrollton, Texas — “AgVenture (Exploration Farm)”
  • Kally Koch, Riverdale, Muscoda, Wis. — “Corn/Bean Planter”
  • Justin Mills, Woodbine Community Schools, Woodbine, Iowa — “IP Land & Cattle Co.”
  • Eric Sawatzke, West Central Area High School, Barrett, Minn. — “Growing Grant County (Meat Processing Lab)”
  • Adam Riddle, North Valley CTC-Drayton, Drayton, N.D. — “Vet Science Program”
  • Natalie Utsch, Paynesville Secondary School, Paynesville, Minn. — “Technology for Tomorrow”
  • Elizabeth Johnson, Tracy Area High School, Tracy, Minn. — “Aquaponics: Growing Fish, Plants and Students”
  • Andrew Boersma, Wolsey-Wessington School, Wolsey, S.D. — “Welding Shop Renovation” 
  • Duane Melton, Republic School, Republic, Mo. — “Swine Barn Restoration” 
  • Julia Scolari, Coquille Junior/Senior High School, Coquille, Ore. — “Agriculture Program Start-up”

The CHS Foundation, funded by charitable gifts from CHS Inc., is focused on developing a new generation of agriculture leaders for life-long success. Together with its partners, the CHS Foundation is igniting innovation and driving excellence in agriculture education, cultivating high-impact programs for rural youth and accelerating potential for careers in agriculture. 

“Over the span of 75 years, the CHS Foundation has contributed nearly $84 million to help build a strong agriculture talent pipeline for the future,” says Nanci Lilja, president of the CHS Foundation. “The last 75 years of giving would be nothing without strong educators and students involved in agriculture, and together the next 75 years will be just as bright.”

Watch a video about the top three CHS Foundation teacher grant winners: