LINCOLN (SNR/NFB) – Carolyn Dolezal, a teacher at St. Peter School in Lincoln, was named one of two “Nebraska Ag in the Classroom” teachers of the year by The Nebraska Farm Bureau.
The award is presented annually to teachers who incorporate agriculture into their classroom. The recipients “demonstrate how teachers can enhance core-subject learning by featuring agriculture and the many ways it impacts our lives here in Nebraska. They are engaging the next generation in critical thinking about where their food, fiber and fuel comes from, and we are happy to honor their important work,” said Megahn Schafer, executive director of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation.
Dolezal was presented with the award Jan. 8 during a surprise assembly. Members of the Farm Bureau Board were present, as were the Pavlishes, whose farm the fourth-graders visit and who write to the fourth-graders during the year.
Dolezal has been part of the Ag Pen Pal Program for 15 years. Her classroom’s pen pals are Neal and Carol Pavlish in Saline County. Her fourth-grade students read the letters about their crops, facts about the animals, and the perseverance of being on a farm. Each spring, Dolezal’s class takes a field trip to the Pavlishes’ farm where the family shares the joys and day-to-day work at the farm. This includes gathering eggs from their chickens, the process of planting corn using a planter and tractor, and more.
“A favorite activity is feeding the Black Angus steers hay through the fence,” said Dolezal. “At the farm is where they begin to understand the fact that these steers provide meat at their homes or in restaurants.”
Dolezal grew up on a farm in Pawnee County. She often relates agriculture back to what the kids are learning in school. She processed honey for her family table, so she shares the importance of bees as pollinators to her students. Her family also milked cows and sold cream, so when her students make butter out of cream she can help them understand where butter comes from.
Each teacher will receive an expense-paid trip to the National Agriculture in the Classroom Conference June 18-21 in Little Rock, Ark., an accurate agriculture book bundle featuring 12 books and corresponding literature guides, and a $250 cash prize.
The mission of the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is to engage youth, educators, and the general public to promote an understanding of the vital importance of agriculture in the lives of all Nebraskans.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. For more information about the Nebraska Farm Bureau Foundation, visit www.nefbfoundation.org.