O'Brien County's Bell-Times-Courier -

Golden Owl Presentation At South O'Brien

 

January 30, 2020

Vanessa Rohwer

Golden Owl Presentation At South O'Brien

Eric Kumm, Ag Science and Industrial Technology instructor at South O'Brien High School for 25 years finally received the credit he has earned. On Wednesday January 29, 2020 Kumm was surprised during an impromptu high school assembly.

High school principal, Steven Bruder introduced Josh Remington. Remington represented Iowa FFA Foundation. He was there to announce Eric Kumm as the Iowa selection for the Golden Owl Award, presented by Iowa FFA Foundation and Nationwide and Mark Crop Insurance, represented on Wednesday by Marty Pippett and Steve Ferreira.

The Golden Owl Award, now in 5 states, is a coveted recognition for Ag teachers. Nominations were accepted from July 1 through November 16. During that time 253 nominations were made for 75 different Iowa teachers. Kumm received "a very impressive 30 nominations," according to Ferreira. Following the nomination period a selection "committee was tasked with selecting the Golden Owl Award finalists, including today's honoree."

Comments submitted in support of Eric Kumm for this illustrious award include:

According to once teacher: A measure of a teacher's success is not just awards, but time spent with kids outside of the school day, and, how much our kids LOVE being in FFA. The teacher fills the niche of man o four non-traditional student types – bluntly, the kids who don't like school, love this teacher and everything that he offers.

A former student wrote: This teacher is one of the most noble and influential people I have ever met. When I and my fellow South O'Brien FFA members have been asked who has made an impact on our lives, we can hand our hats in answering, Mr. Kumm. In my years as his student, we were always given the opportunity to compete in all categories at FFA competitions. I will never forget admitting to Mr. Kumm that I had not practiced reciting the FFA creed the night before our competition. Mr. Kumm replied by saying, "I would be disappointed t see you quit." I went along to the competition the next day as a freshman in high school scared to compete and thinking I would fail. I went on to win the competition. Mr. Kumm sees value in students even when we don't see it in our selves.

According to a parent: This teacher consistently assists in our children learning about the world they live in. Whether this be through classroom teaching, activities, or competitions. He is always available to the students. He sends out inspirational texts to all students in FFA on an almost-daily basis. He treats every student as if they were his own, even though he has no children. All six of our children have had Mr. Kumm and we can see their excitement over the learning and experiences they have had being a part of the FFA chapter. Two of our children have since went on to become active in someway related to agriculture, in college or in the workforce. This probably not have been possible without this teacher's guidance and fortitude in teaching.

A student wrote: This teacher changes the meaning of agriculture in every single one of his students' lives. I would not be the person I am today if it wasn't for this teacher. He goes above and beyond to make sure everyone has fun and participates in Ag. I have never felt like I belonged anywhere in high school, but this teacher made sure I belonged. Whether it's throwing candy at me in class or telling me it's okay to make mistakes. He never lets anyone feel like a failure. If we do bad in a competition he takes us out for food and tells the best jokes. Everyday we start class off with a Chuck Norris joke and a story of the day. This teacher deserves the award more than anyone else. For him, ag isn't about winning competitions – it's about becoming a better person.

Kumm was awarded with a check for $500 to honor his outstanding commitment to ag education. He was also recognized with an engraved plaque. Nationwide Insurance gave a $5000 donation to the Iowa FFA Foundation "to further support the personal and professional growth of future farmers across the state."

In addition to being awarded the Golden Owl for Iowa, Kumm is also a contender for the grand prize. One honoree from each of the 5 states will be chosen as its state's grand prize winner. Each grand prize winner will receive the coveted Golden Owl Award trophy, the designation as their state's Ag Educator of the Year and a $3000 Nationwide-funded award designed to support continued education efforts. The Iowa grand prize winner will be announced during the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in April. The winner will be based on additional review by each state's selection committee.

 

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