High school agriculture teacher receives scholarship, free courses and curriculum

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HARRISBURG — A Pennsylvania high school agriculture teacher was recently awarded $1,000 to fund professional development conferences and workshops on the dairy industry. The money was awarded as part of the Educator Scholarship through the Dairy Excellence Foundation’s Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program.

Melanie Berndtson, of Wellsboro Area High School, in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, received the scholarship for the 2023-24 school year curriculum. Berndtson teaches in a single-teacher department that serves over 100 Pennsylvania students each year in a variety of agricultural science courses.

She is passionate about hands-on learning and often takes students on tours at nearby dairy farms. Berndtson also uses the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow curriculum in her animal science classes to teach basic animal nutrition, judging and other dairy knowledge.

The Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program is designed specifically to prepare high school students to pursue careers in the dairy industry. Using a three-part model, the program offers online courses and classroom curriculum, on-farm experience opportunities and annual scholarships to educators and students. So far, a total of more than 29,500 high school students have been impacted by the DLT program.

The DLT curriculum includes four main courses: Introduction to Dairy; Introduction to Dairy Herd Management; Introduction to Dairy Business Management; and Introduction to Dairy Technologies. Lesson plans and associated resources can be accessed online and downloaded at no cost once educators or students complete the DLT registration. Certificates of Achievement are awarded in Introduction to Dairy, Dairy Herd Management, Dairy Business Management and Dairy Technologies to students who receive a minimum of 80% on lesson quizzes and end-of-course examinations.

Throughout the school year, scholarship opportunities and on-farm experiences for students include activities like the hands-on Exploration Experience and the annual Farm Tour throughout the school year. This year’s Exploration Experience is scheduled for Nov. 10 at Delaware Valley University and this year’s Farm Tour will take place on two dairy farms in Berks County Oct. 19.

To sign up for the Dairy Leaders of Tomorrow program this school year or to share with an agriculture educator, visit www.dairyleadersoftomorrow.com. For questions about the program, contact Michelle Shearer at mshearer@centerfordairyexcellence.org or by phone at 570-768-8316.


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