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FFA Advisor, Dana Hall, One of Six Teachers Recognized as Finalists for Golden Owl Award

The Nebraska Golden Owl Award recognizes teachers with an outstanding commitment and impact on their students and dedication to agriculture education. Out of many nominations, six finalists were selected. Finalist, Dana Hall, from the McCool Junction FFA chapter, devotes her time to ensuring that her students understand the importance of agriculture and giving back to their community.

Hailing from McCool Junction, Mrs. Hall was active in 4-H and on her family’s farm and ranch during her childhood. However, when she was growing up, McCool Junction didn’t have an agricultural education and FFA program. As a result, Mrs. Hall never considered agricultural education as a career path until she was encouraged to pursue it by her livestock judging coach in college. When she finished college, there were not many open agriculture teacher positions in Nebraska, so Mrs. Hall worked as a college recruiter until she had the opportunity to come back and start the McCool Junction FFA chapter in 2007, and now she has been there ever since.

One of the most impactful experiences in Mrs. Hall’s career was when the McCool Junction community rallied around the FFA chapter to build an animal barn in honor of a student who passed away. She recalls hundreds of people showing up to work on this project, donating their time and resources to make it happen. Now, that animal barn is used every day to help students gain real-life experience in animal agriculture.

McCool Junction FFA is known for growing kids who give back to their community and who appreciate all it has given them. “The McCool Junction community would not be the same without Dana Hall. They benefit greatly from her involvement and dedication to the community as a whole,” shared one nominator.

Mrs. Hall’s favorite parts of teaching agriculture include hearing from former students and sharing agriculture with students who don’t come from an agricultural background. “The excitement that I get to see when you have a student who has never seen a baby lamb or calf be born or a chick hatch, you just can’t explain that -  it makes it all worth it,” commented Hall.

She advises future agriculture teachers to find people and resources in their communities that will support and help them, saying that’s the key to success. She also suggests that future teachers don’t get too caught up in chasing every plaque and banner.

Outside the classroom, Mrs. Hall spends her time with her family, helping her daughters show livestock, leading a 4-H club, and being active in her church.

Mrs. Hall would like to extend a special thank you to her family, her nominators for this award, the McCool Junction community, her students, and her administrators, past and present, emphasizing that it takes a community to make all that she does possible.

The Nebraska Golden Owl Award is sponsored by the Nebraska Agriculture Educators Association, the Nebraska FFA Foundation, and Nationwide.