COLUMBUS – Sarah Lucha, an agricultural teacher at South Central High School in Greenwich, is one of 10 finalists in Ohio for Ag Educator of the Year through Nationwide’s Golden Owl Award.
This award recognizes the tremendous contributions of agricultural teachers in California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania in preparing the next generation of young people for successful careers in agriculture.
Nominations for Lucha described her strengths in teaching students the importance of building good character and exemplifying good morals, self-esteem and compassion. One nominator wrote of Lucha, “she is like a mother to my children and we are so blessed that she has come into our lives.”
Across the five states, 32 finalists will be presented with a $500 cash prize and entered into a final selection stage for the chance to be selected as their state’s Ag Educator of the Year. In spring 2020, one finalist from each state will be chosen as the grand-prize winner and will receive the designation of Ag Educator of the Year, a $3,000 Nationwide-funded cash award designed to support continued education efforts, and the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy.
“Farming is in our roots at Nationwide and we’re proud to recognize teachers for their dedication to educating the next generation of agricultural leaders,” said Brad Liggett, president of Agribusiness at Nationwide. “These talented individuals have a tremendous impact on the students and communities they serve.
"The nominations highlight the passion and inspiration they impart on their students, fellow teachers and community members.”
About the Golden Owl Award
Farming is the backbone of America, but recent trends show a declining number of students who are studying agriculture. In Iowa alone, the presence of agriculture teachers (or teachers in the field) has decreased by 20 percent over the last five years¹.
To shed light on this trend, Nationwide, the #1 farm insurer in the U.S.², established the Golden Owl Award in 2018 to honor contributions of Iowa and Ohio agriculture teachers and the importance of agricultural education for future industry leaders. The 2019-2020 Golden Owl Award was expanded to include California, Illinois, Iowa, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Nationwide is also investing $5,000 in each participating state’s FFA organization to further support aspiring agriculture professionals.
“We created this award to bring attention to the growing need for agricultural teachers in this country,” said Liggett. “Following the inaugural Golden Owl Award, the Iowa Ag Educator of the Year saw a 30-student increase in his agricultural shop class. We hope that providing teachers with additional resources and recognition will help to boost their programs and provide students with an optimal learning experience.”
The Golden Owl Award is the result of partnerships between Nationwide, California FFA, California Farm Bureau, Illinois FFA, Illinois Association of Vocational Agriculture Teachers, Farm Credit Illinois, Compeer Financial, Iowa FFA Foundation, Ohio FFA, Ohio Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania FFA and the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
To learn more about the Golden Owl Award, visit www.GoldenOwlAward.com.