In the 35-year history of the program, almost $800,000 in college scholarships has been awarded to 118 graduating high school seniors from Wisconsin who have pursued a career in agriculture.
Hard work, tenacity, adaptability, resilience are among the traits that define those working in agriculture. The same can be said for the high school graduates who comprise the Class of 2020.
Despite having their in-school classes, extracurricular activities, proms, senior trips and graduation ceremonies abruptly shifted to virtual attendance or altogether canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, not all was lost. The springtime tradition of supporting young people in Wisconsin who aspire to advance their education and a career in agriculture through the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship program continued for the 35th consecutive year.
Matt Lutsey, president of Waseda Farms and grandson of program founder Thomas H. Lutsey, is proud to announce the selection of five graduating high school students for the 2020 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship. Each scholar receives a four-year, $10,000 college scholarship.
Since its inception in 1986, the Lutsey-Waseda Farms program, which is supported by Waseda Farms, has awarded almost $800,000 in scholarship money to 118 scholars.
“To say the least, this year has been uniquely challenging, disruptive, worrisome and painful for so many because of the unexpected and unfortunate spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” Matt Lutsey said. “As our hearts go out to those in our communities who have lost resources, jobs, businesses, and, tragically, loved ones, our team at Waseda Farms has remained committed to the mission of the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship program: ‘Supporting the future of agriculture through education.’ We tip are hats to the Class of 2020 for their grit and resolve as they completed the school year under trying circumstances. And we thank the over 150 graduates who applied for the Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholarship this year; the response and pool of applicants was impressive!”
To be considered for the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship, students must be in their final year of high school, graduating from a high school that is within 150 miles of Green Bay, in good academic standing, planning to attend an accredited four-year college or university, and committed to pursue a career in agriculture that will enhance Wisconsin’s rural communities.
The late Thomas H. Lutsey started the scholarship. He was a dairy farmer in Pulaski, Wisconsin, who created Gold Bond Ice Cream (later rebranded as Good Humor-Breyers) and ice-cream novelties such as the Eskimo Pie. Thomas H. Lutsey’s son, Tom Lutsey, founded Waseda Farms in 2008. Waseda Farms is an organic farm in Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin, with two retail locations that also distribute certified organic food to restaurants, grocery stores, other retailers and schools throughout Wisconsin and other locations in the Midwest.
2020 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship Recipients
This year’s scholars include three FFA presidents, a cattle owner and an affectionately nicknamed “cow whisperer.”
“As in previous years, the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship Committee had no easy task in reading, reviewing and judging the applications for this year’s scholarships,” Matt Lutsey said. “We commend everyone who applied and congratulate those selected as the 2020 scholars. They have distinguished themselves already in their young lives with a diligent work ethic, versatile skillsets and achievements inside and outside of school, selfless service to community, exemplary leadership, and a strong passion for agriculture and bettering their local communities.”
The 2020 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship recipients are:
Hailey Gaedtke, Luxemburg, Wis. As a sixth-generation farmer on her family’s dairy farm that started in 1885, Gaedtke says she has “busy feet.” The go-getter’s commitment to hard work has served her well away from the farm, too. She’s been a longtime participant in 4-H and served as president of her local club as well as FFA. She was a three-sport athlete at Kewaunee High School. She also excelled academically with a 3.9 grade-point average. As a big advocate of agriculture among the youth in her community, Gaedtke plans to study agricultural business at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls with an interest in educating consumers on food production. She is the first Kewaunee graduate to receive a Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholarship.
Katrina Hoesly, Denmark, Wis. Having been referred to as a “cow whisperer,” Hoesly has developed a close rapport with the cattle in her care. She’s juggled jobs as a herd manager and a farmhand at two livestock operations in her community. Hands-on experience she gained in the treatment of animals has Hoesly interested in pursuing a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) and a career as a bovine reproductive specialist, after she completes her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville with an emphasis on dairy science and agribusiness. Hoesly is the record-setting ninth Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholar — and the first since 1999 – from Denmark High School. She compiled a 3.7 grade-point average and was president of the school’s robust FFA as well as her local 4-H club.
Morgan Jones, Cambria, Wis. A self-described “passion for agriculture” has been cultivated since she was a young girl. Jones’ extensive work on her family’s dairy farm has included owning a herd of 16 cattle as well as assisting with the cash crop operations. She plans to earn a degree in agribusiness at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville after starting her studies at Western Technical College. The Cambria-Friesland High School graduate ranked near the top in her class with a 4.0 grade-point average. She also was a three-sport athlete and served as a team captain in basketball and volleyball. Her long list of leadership and success extended to FFA and 4-H. Jones is the first Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholar from Cambria-Friesland.
Kaylee Mess, Rosendale, Wis. Advocating for agriculture comes naturally for the Laconia High School alumna. The “farm kid” has spent countless hours away from her studies and work on her family’s dairy farm by making the rounds at fairs and other community events to educate the public about the agricultural world. With a particular interest in introducing kids to the dairy industry, Mess wants to be a high school agriculture teacher and FFA adviser. She was her school’s FFA president, involved in other activities, and strong academically with a 3.8 grade-point average. Mess, who is the third Laconia graduate to be named a Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholar (first since 2010), plans to study agriculture education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
Ben Stone, Ripon, Wis. Inspired by his mother, a veterinarian who died of cancer when he was just 7 years old, Stone is determined to forge a career as a vet specializing in large animals. He plans to study pre-veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Stone has logged plenty of hands-on experience working on and managing his family’s dairy farm, which features Guernsey cattle. As the first graduate of Omro High School to earn a Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholarship, Stone followed in the footsteps of his father and an uncle by serving as the school’s FFA president. Stone also was president of the school band, in which he played drums, was a team captain in wrestling and cross-country, and was president of his local 4-H club. He graduated with a stellar grade-point average of 3.9.
A Commitment to Sustainable Farming and Education
Waseda Farms is a certified organic, sustainable farm in Door County that encourages the best environmental practices and humane animal treatment and provides agricultural jobs to the community. Waseda Farms also operates Waseda Farms Market on the farm in Door County, provides curbside pickup orders at its butcher shop in De Pere, Wisconsin, and ships nationwide through its online marketplace. More information on Waseda Farms can be found at WasedaFarms.com.
The Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship underscores Waseda Farms’ commitment to organic, sustainable and responsible farming and its commitment to education. Thomas Lutsey was a strong believer in hard work and diligence being essential to success. He wanted to help students who had a passion for agriculture and a dedication to furthering their education to better their local communities. The annual goal is to support students in rural communities who go to college and plan to commit themselves to living and working in those communities to advance Wisconsin’s agricultural future.