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Grabarski Named Wisconsin's Outstanding Ag Educator
Wisconsin Ag Connection - 07/09/2019

An ag instructor from Adams County has been selected as the state's Outstanding Agricultural Educator of the Year. Becky Grabarski, who teaches at Adams-Friendship High School, was honored during the Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators professional development conference, held recently in La Crosse. The award recognizes members who conduct the highest quality agricultural education programs.

Since 2010, the Adams-Friendship FFA chapter has been a top 10 finalist for the Food for America program and a 3-Star ranked chapter five times for the National FFA Chapter award. Becky's classroom curriculum is constantly changing just as the agricultural industry does, with instruction consisting of many diverse opportunities such as building fishing poles, making cheese, animal dissections and hydroponics.

"As agricultural educators we are immersed in both evolving agriculture and learning technology with our students," said outgoing WAAE President Becky Wirkus. "Our organization's members provide nurturing environments for students to grow as leaders as well. Being an agricultural educator like Becky requires dedication year-round as well as enthusiasm, and a passion for both teaching and learning."

This year's Honored Ag Educator Award went to Dale Drees, who has 40 years in the industry and now a lead instructor at Fox Valley Technical College.

Also at the conference, Fay Westberg, who recently retired from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls' Agricultural Education Department, was honored with the group's VIP Award. After working more than 31 years at the campus office, Westberg now serves the department on special projects.

Troy Talford of Sauk Prairie High School was bestowed with the Teacher Mentor Award for developing positive relationships and connections with a beginning teacher. Tjark Sattler, agricultural educator at Parkview School District in Orfordville, received the Outstanding Young Member award.

A 'Turn the Key' award was presented to Katelyn Dei of Slinger High School. That honor is given to educators during their first years of teaching to allow them an opportunity to attend the annual National Association of Agricultural Educators Convention.

Meanwhile, The agricultural education program at the Kiel Middle and High Schools has received the Outstanding Agricultural Education Program Award. It was presented to instructors David Friend and Erica Eickert for excellence in membership, participation in WAAE and other professional associations, classroom instruction, FFA involvement, and community service. And the Landscape, Plant and Turf Management Program at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire was recognized with the Outstanding Post-Secondary Program Award.

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