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CJ Dietzel, recipient of the Dekalb Agriculture Accomplishment Award. (Photo submitted by Jim Mesik)

School’s out, which means so are school activities. While activities hit a rough spot with the pandemic, that doesn’t mean that everything was completely cancelled. For example, the Norwood Young America has been still been recognizing student achievements in any way they can. A senior in Central High School, CJ Dietzel, was granted the Dekalb Agriculture Accomplishment Award on May 18.

This award is given to students who demonstrate scholarship, leadership, and agriculture work experience in the FFA. The students participate in several different activities, and Dietzel is no exception.

“I participated in the corn drive, multiple judging teams including poultry, wildlife and forestry, attending the state and national FFA conventions, giving away pork burgers at Bongard’s Creameries open house and Glencoe Farm and Ag Day,” said Dietzel.

That’s just scratching the surface. Dietzel also participated in the Carver County Fair, was chapter officer for the FFA, and employed at a local dairy farm. He even shows poultry at the MN State Poultry Show every October. Suffice to say, Dietzel was plenty qualified for the Dekalb Award.

The Award gives a scholarship of $200 to students, and has been presented since 1947. And understandably, this year was one of the most unique years to receive the award.

“This year as a senior has been bittersweet,” said Dietzel. “I finished my high school career and move on to my next chapter of my life, but I have missed out on experiencing many once in a lifetime events.”

However, despite some of the struggles, Dietzel stated that the overwhelming amount of support was what made things a little easier. Between the Post Prom Parade and the graduation ceremony at Central’s parking lot, as well as the teachers putting classes together to the best of their ability, the students had the best year they could.

Part of the bittersweet feeling is the fact that Dietzel enjoyed his time in the FFA. Some of his favorites were attending state and national conventions. Not only did he get to learn about agriculture techniques and products that he’d never seen, he also got the chance to make plenty of new friends.

“My experiences that I gained from school and FFA will help me develop meaningful relationships professionally and personally,” he said. “I have a better understanding of agriculture in different parts of the country and the world.”

The plan for Dietzel now is to attend Hennepin Tech in Eden Prairie. He plans to earn his Public Works Technician Certificate first, and then figure out where to go from there. One option he’s thinking on is furthering his studies into natural resources.

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