Each spring, Lakeshore Technical College typically holds a graduation banquet in northeast Wisconsin for its graduating dairy students, but the past few years have not been typical. While they could not hold their formal banquet, the students in the nine-month program organized an event at a local dairy farm. The Kirsch family of Devin Acres opened their machinery shed to the students, their families, and the host farms to celebrate their achievements.

This year, seven students graduated from Lakeshore Technical College’s dairy management program. It was the first time that it was an all-female class. Each student received their plaque for completing the program by Craig Lallensack, the dairy herd and agricultural business instructor.

Left to right: Lily Charapata, Emily Kroll, Kelsie Bramstedt, Lexi Kluenker, Alli Pankratz, Savanna Merrill, and instructor Craig Lallensack. Missing is Alexis Doege

A highlight of the evening is the Hoard’s Dairyman Award presentation. The large plaque that hangs in the college’s dairy department depicts the “Foster Mothers of the Human Race” painting. The name of each year’s winner is engraved on the award. A smaller plaque is also presented to the winner. This award is voted on by fellow students, who apply a 1 to 10 score in the three categories of character, academics, and community-focus.

A Hoard’s Dairyman staffer attends the banquet and presents the award. It is the only award of its kind presented by Hoard’s Dairyman. Previous college instructor, Sheryl Nehls, was in attendance and shared how the award came into existence.
Hoard’s Dairyman Online Media Manager Patti Hurtgen with Lily Charapata

The Hoard’s Dairyman Award was presented to Lily Charapata from Coleman, Wis. She works for Cowtown Acres in Coleman. Owner Everett Yoap is a former Hoard’s Dairyman Award winner from 2011 and a huge supporter of LTC Dairy Herd Management program. Lily also has a passion for Ayrshire and Jerseys. She will be continuing her studies at Lakeshore Technical College next fall to earn an associate's degree in Dairy Business Management.

While it wasn’t the social gathering of the annual banquet, the award program did provide the students with a feeling of completion and the opportunity to share it with those that helped them along the way. From the Hoard’s Dairyman team, we congratulate Lily on all her hard work, graduation, and recognition by her peers. Best of luck to all of the students as they embark on their next adventure.

Patti Hurtgen

The author is the online media manager and is responsible for the website, webinars, and social media. A graduate of Modesto Junior College and Fresno State, she was raised on a California dairy and frequently blogs on youth programs and consumer issues.