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FFA Advisor, Boyd Bowder, 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 agricultural education. Out of many nominations, six finalists were selected. Finalist, Boyd Bowder, from the St. Paul FFA chapter, pushes to help students from all backgrounds find their place in the agriculture community.

Growing up on a farm that raised corn, soybeans, and hogs; and participating in 4-H as a young child, Mr. Bowder has been surrounded by agriculture his entire life. Inspired by his mother, the first female FFA member at Pender, Mr. Bowder joined FFA in high school and loved every aspect of it. He decided he wanted to be an ag teacher early in high school and his confidence in this career choice never waivered. Mr. Bowder started at Sumner-Eddville-Miller and has spent the remainder of his 19 years teaching at St. Paul.  

During his time in agricultural education, Mr. Bowder has prided himself on taking students from all backgrounds - agricultural or not - and immersing them in the agriculture industry. One nominator shared, “A majority of our FFA members either live in town or have a minimal agriculture background. That presents a challenge for Mr. Bowder, but he is on a mission to teach kids about the importance of agriculture and how it affects everyone.”

St. Paul FFA is known for its success in proficiency awards and competitions related to plants and natural resources. Much of this success can be attributed to a key motto of St. Paul FFA - keep grinding. This is a mantra that Mr. Bowder firmly believes in. He encourages his students to buy into and enjoy the grind of preparing for competitions because he knows it will pay off. Mr. Bowder is inspired and motivated by students having success. “I want my students to have success and I try to put them in positions where they will be successful, that has a lot to do with finding what their interests are,” he commented. Even though Mr. Bowder strongly enjoys the plant and natural resources competitions, he also loves learning with the students in other areas in which he isn’t as strong.

Mr. Bowder’s favorite memories as an agriculture teacher are all of the Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) visits he has gone on. During those SAE visits, he said he gets to cement relationships with students and enjoys seeing them in their natural habitat doing what they love. Mr. Bowder also enjoys learning from the students when he checks in on their SAEs.

The main advice Mr. Bowder shared for future ag teachers reflects his classroom motto - being an ag teacher is hard but you have to keep grinding. He also said that finding a solid balance between your personal life and school life that works for you is key.

Outside the classroom, Mr. Bowder enjoys spending time with his wife and four kids working on various projects. He spends a lot of time outdoors and likes to camp. Additionally, he spends time coaching wrestling at St. Paul.

Mr. Bowder would like to thank his family, the agriculture teacher community, his students, and the St. Paul staff and administration for all of their support.

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