Britton, Philip & Woonsocket youth receive S.D. Farmers Union scholarships

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Farm Forum

HURON — The South Dakota Farmers Union Foundation announces the 2015 Foundation Scholarship recipients. The students include: Alexandra Farber, Britton; Jonathan Linke, Woonsocket; and Tyana Gottsleben, Philip. These students will be attending post-secondary education in South Dakota in fall 2015.

Since 1961, the S.D. Farmers Union Foundation has invested in the lives of rural youth because the organization believes education is crucial to the future of South Dakota’s rural communities and the state’s family farms and ranches.

“Part of our mission is to help our young people as they pursue education and to aid them in their future careers,” said Bonnie Geyer, S.D. Farmers Union Education Director. “We hope that by attending South Dakota schools, more students will return to their rural communities to help make these communities stronger.”

As the Education Director for more than 17 years, Geyer works with Farmers Union Youth Programming which reaches more than 3,000 rural youth (kindergarten through high school) each year through a summer camp program and in-school leadership programming.

The three scholarships awarded include: the Memorial Scholarship, presented on behalf of the families of the late Emil Loriks, Les Saboe and other Farmers Union members; the Cooperative Scholarship, which is awarded on behalf of the late Ben and Dorothy Radcliffe and the families of the late Clifford Ott, Richard Pastian and Adam Seidel; and the Leadership Scholarship, which is presented on behalf of the family of the late Frank Butler.

Applications, which include several essays, as well as letters of recommendation and transcripts, were submitted between Sept. 2014 and Dec. 1, 2014. A committee made of Geyer, S.D. Farmers Union President, Doug Sombke, and two members (rotating), review the applications and select scholarship recipients on the basis of organizational and community involvement, academic achievement, leadership activities and financial need.

Each year when she reviews the scholarship applications, Geyer says she is optimistic for the future. “These young people are the cream of the crop. They are involved in their communities, have goals and are looking at how they can benefit their state through their future careers,” she said.

Doug Sombke echoes Geyer’s statement. As President of S.D. Farmers Union, he explained that although academic standing is important, community outreach and involvement plays a large role in which students are selected for the scholarships.

“Students who receive these scholarships are leaders in their communities. They are involved in organizations like Farmers Union, FFA or 4-H,” Sombke said. “These scholarships are one of the many ways our organization works to empower the next generation of South Dakotans.”

Meet the Recipients

Alexandra Farber of Britton has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Memorial Scholarship on behalf of the families of Emil Loriks, Les Saboe and other Farmers Union members who have donated to the memorial scholarship fund. Farber is the daughter of Tom and Lori Farber and is a senior at Britton High School. She plans to attend South Dakota State University Honors College to major in marketing and theatre, with a minor in English. In 2014, Farber received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Farber is involved in oral interpretation, drama, choir and volleyball, and serves on the Britton Public Library Youth Advisory Board, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

Jonathan Linke of Woonsocket has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Cooperative Scholarship on behalf of Ben and Dorothy Radcliffe and the families of Cliff Ott, Dick Pastian and Adam Seidel. Linke is the son of Henry and Paula Linke and is a senior at Woonsocket High School. After graduation, Jonathan plans to attend South Dakota State University and is considering a major in Ag Journalism. In 2014, Linke received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Linke is involved in band, FFA, 4-H, All State Chorus, VFW Baseball and St. Wilfred’s Youth Group, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

Tyana Gottsleben of Philip has been awarded a $500 Farmers Union Leadership Scholarship on behalf of the family of Frank Butler. She is the daughter of Bill and Jayne Gottsleben and is a senior at Philip High School. Tyana plans to pursue a degree in education. In 2014, Gottsleben received the S. D. Farmers Union Torchbearer award and was selected to serve on the 2015 Farmers Union Senior Advisory Council. In addition to Farmers Union Youth Programming, Gottsleben is involved in Family Career & Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), track, band, choir, class treasurer and Sacred Heart Catholic Youth Group, as well as many other community and scholastic activities.

To learn more about S.D. Farmers Union scholarship and youth programming, visit www.sdfu.org.