Corn education program earns national award
Students in Marion Peabody-Burns, and Centre schools are learning ag education through curriculum and equipment from Kansas Corn Commission.
Kansas Corn’s STEM education program used by the three schools received the Reaching for Excellence award National Corn Growers Association Friday.
Having the assistance of supplies is a major advantage for small schools, Peabody-Burns ag teacher Alex Walters said.
“The lab supplies are a huge gift,” she said. “I was a new teacher coming into a program where I knew I’d need a lot of those supplies. That took a huge burden off the school and what could have been a hefty lab bill.”
In Marion, the supplies provided means students can see the advantages of ethanol, Marion ag teacher Mark Meyer said.
Among Marion’s classes is an ag power technology class, which lets high schoolers experiment with ethanol and learn about the differences from other fuel sources.
“It’s one thing to have great activities that sound good, but if you don’t have the equipment to teach them, you have to scrimp and save,” Meyer said. “By providing the equipment, it helps those activities.”
One of the program’s advantages is Sharon Thielen, Kansas Corn’s director of education, and her dedication to promotion, Walters said.
“She’s worked really hard to push that education piece,” Walters said. “That is a huge step forward for them as an organization, focusing on that outreach aspect.”
Demonstrating the program’s value is especially important since funding comes through the checkoff program, Thielen said.
“It shows the farmers this is a good investment and one to keep supporting for our Kansas schools,” she said. “It’s fully funded by the corn checkoff program, and we have a board of farmers who decide how those funds are spent. Recognition will help with sustainability of the program.”