Awards

Outstanding Young Member Awards

Young members of any organization are the seeds from which the organization grows. Without recruitment and new members, an organization would soon be phased out. One way that the NAAE recognizes new young members is to award them on their successes in the classroom.

Each regional winner of this award received a plaque and a cash award to attend the annual conference in Las Vegas. John Deere sponsored this award.

Region I
Jolene Christensen
Wasatch High School
Heber City, Utah
Region IV
Tate Forbush
Byron High School
Byron, Michigan
Region II
Jona Kay Squires
Norman High School
Norman, Okla
homa
Region V
David Nixon
Crescent High School
Iva, South Carolina
Region III
Kevin Anderson
Lyons High School
Lyons, Nebraska
Region VI
Mia Haaland
Northwestern Regional School
Winsted, Connecticut

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Region I
Jolene Christensen
Wasatch High School
Heber City, Utah 

Jolene believes that students must apply information to really learn it and takes advantage of every opportunity to get her students involved. She takes her students on field trips and when that isn't possible creates simulations like a "lamb lab" in her own classroom, borrowing ideas from a fellow agricultural educator to bring lamb genetics to life. Christensen conducts a floral lab for every holiday, making centerpieces, corsages, boutonnières, and several other seasonal products in her own classroom and greenhouse.

Involvement is very important to Jolene. Agriculture in the Classroom has been a major focus for her involving 100% of her chapter FFA membership. She encourages her members to set goals and helps them to reach them.

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Region II
Jona Kay Squires
Norman High School
Norman, Oklahoma

"Every student deserves the opportunity to learn and discover…" is a philosophy that Jona Kay Squires lives every day she teaches. By diversifying the way she teaches and offering instruction in a variety of ways Squires reaches students in the way they learn best.

Jona Kay not only teaches in a variety of ways, she also gives students the chance to apply their knowledge through a variety of activities. One of the most unique opportunities that students have is the chance to be involved in Orange Thumb, a school based business that involves students in every aspect of owning a greenhouse. Squires is a teacher that makes things happen for her students and her community and that is why she is this years Region II Outstanding Young Member.

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Region III
Kevin Anderson
Lyons High School
Lyons, Nebraska

"Educators must find a variety of ways to teach, inspire and motivate students to action." Kevin Anderson's philosophy on education has led him to vary what he teaches and the way he teaches to develop his students into life long learners. Anderson helps to stay current by attending numerous professional development workshops and by reading periodicals and books.

Anderson focuses on the continual need for change to ensure that he stays current with the times and to keep the variety that he believes is key. He also carries this over to the community organizations he has partnered with, working with different kinds of businesses to give his students as many options as possible.

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Region IV
Tate Forbush
Byron High School
Byron, Michigan

Forbush, an agricultural education instructor at Byron High School for the past 5 years, has a mission "to provide my students with a basic knowledge of the origin of their food supply…" Mr. Forbush teaches from a broad curriculum base to engage his students who come from a variety of backgrounds. Believing that leadership abilities are the main contributor to the future success of his students, Forbush incorporates presentations into his curriculum, which includes classes in Agriscience and Natural Resources, Agribusiness and Mechanics, and Leadership.

Mr. Forbush also encourages his students to continue their education outside of the classroom by participating in experiential learning opportunities. In their second year of the program, all students are required to have a Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) Program. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the market hog/lamb co-op that the FFA chapter operates. Serving as the Work Experience Coordinator at Byron High, Forbush also works with students who gain release time from school to work on the job as an intern. "This job has taught me a lot a bout fostering positive relationships between the school, our students, and local employers as well as providing some very valuable work experience for our students," says Forbush.

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Region V
David Nixon
Crescent High School
Iva, South Carolina

Nixon uses a variety of teaching techniques and incorporates hands-on activities to create courses where students are interested and learn skills to help them succeed. With the help of a grant written by Nixon, the Crescent Agriculture Complex and Farmer's Market was created. The agricultural mechanics class was able to apply skills learned to build the pole barn and the horticulture class cares for a two-acre garden site. The community gets involved during the summer when the market is open daily for the students and local farmers to sell their produce.

When the chapter officers wanted to become more involved in the community, Nixon encouraged them to do so. Nixon's students created a "Cowboy Days" program they use to give first graders knowledge and experience working with livestock. They continue the outreach in the third grade, conducting the FFA's Food for America program. Through this program, Nixon's students provide a series of classroom lessons and experiments titled "Where is Agriculture."

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Region VI
Mia Haaland
Northwestern Regional School
Winsted, Connecticut

Even though she has taught at Northwestern Regional for six years, Haaland still thinks of herself as a " new" teacher and is always trying to improve her teacher and her learning. "I know that teachers can have a great influence on their students, so I have tried to imagine what students will remember about the time and effort that they expend with me."

As the primary animal science instructor in the program, Mia has created curriculum that gives students the opportunity to concentrate in a specialty area or diversify their course of study. Keeping current with the ever-changing field of agriculture, Haaland has developed a basic food science course for her students and has plans for a new food science laboratory.

Haaland also believes in the benefits of experiential learning. Her students handle the daily management and maintenance of the program's barn and companion animal area and on a volunteer basis take care of newborn lambs, pigs, and rabbits. Students also have the opportunity to take a special independent study class that allows them to assist in the management of a production enterprise, including greenhouse plants, hydroponic vegetables, and lambs and wool, developing an overall day-to-day plan for the business.

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