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, Ashtyn Vivion, from the Alliance FFA chapter, has created a culture of hard work and dedication among her students, teaching them that things in life are not simply handed to us.
Mrs. Vivion, a 2017 graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, did not find herself in the classroom immediately following her post-secondary education. In fact, she graduated with a degree in animal science and a minor in entrepreneurship. She found herself running a cow-calf beef operation with her husband as well as working at a bank. It wasn’t until the ag teacher position became available at Alliance that she considered a career in education. An alumni of Alliance Public Schools, she jumped at the opportunity to provide students in her community with experiences as she had before. Five years later and she is doing just that!
During her time as an FFA advisor, Mrs. Vivion has enjoyed seeing her students challenge themselves and watch their success come to fruition. She has especially loved watching them try something new and end up really enjoying it. Seeing students succeed and find their place in FFA has been very rewarding. Her favorite memory since she started teaching was coaching her first state champion team.
Being in a very competitive district, a culture of hard work and dedication is crucial. From day one, Mrs. Vivion communicated her expectations which have allowed her to guide students throughout balancing FFA, academics, and other extracurricular activities. Eventually, students began setting those expectations for themselves and sharing them with others.
Mrs. Vivion has put in time and effort to ensure success and sustainability in the Alliance agriculture education program, from attracting student teachers to the area to sparking a need and interest in hiring an additional teacher. These efforts are not just a product of her own accord, but through others’ investments as well. Mrs. Vivion credits the teachers who have invested in her over the years, the teachers she gets to work with now, a supportive administration, an understanding family, and a cooperative school, community, and alumni.
One nominator wrote, “One of the personal management techniques that Mrs. Vivion has shared with other teachers is her ability to navigate being a mother, wife, running a family business, and being an agricultural education instructor.” Mrs. Vivion has been a resource for many teachers to balance their personal and work lives better. When she first started teaching, she felt like she was spending every waking moment working on something for her classes or FFA. She knew she needed something more sustainable, so she focused on setting boundaries, being effective with her time, and being open to help from others. This is something she tries to model for her students. “It’s okay to say no and quickly set those boundaries, so you can be successful for the long haul,” shared Mrs. Vivion. Outside of the classroom, Mrs. Vivion enjoys spending time on the ranch with her husband and two-year-old daughter.
The Nebraska Golden Owl Award is sponsored by the Nebraska Agriculture Educators Association, the Nebraska FFA Foundation, and Nationwide.