HJ/EDJune 19, 2006

DC grad receives academic coaching award

By Kristen Miller
Staff Writer

A 1993 Dassel-Cokato graduate and current teacher ADawn Melbye received an award of excellence and $10,000 for being Academic Coach of the Year in Thief River Falls.

Melbye, daughter of Alec and Reyna McLean of Cokato, was first nominated by students, parents, colleagues and/or community members for the WEM Foundation’s statewide academic coach of the year award.

“I’m very honored and feel appreciated,” in receiving this award and recognition, Melbye said.

This award “recognizes coaches of student teams who participate and compete in academic challenge or enrichment programs endorsed by the Minnesota Academic League Council,” according to Joyce Swenson at the Center from Academic Excellence.

Melbye teaches high school agricultural education with classes like wildlife resources, small animals, plant science, and exploring agriculture and coaches FFA.

Melbye has always had a passion for animals and “I wanted to take my passion and share it with others by teaching,” she said.

She has created a hands-on, non-traditional agriculture program for students and community by using their input to define 10 areas of curriculum.

Melbye enjoys giving her students new information and watching them explore it, she explained.

“I always want to instill in my students career success, life-long learning, and leadership,” Melbye said.

She has 57 students enrolled in FFA and teaches 280 students in a school year.

Melbye and her FFA team has been to state and national conventions and promote all types of students to find their passion whether it be hunting, fishing or wildlife.

Melbye wants her students to find something they love and focus on that for a career, instead of focusing on the money aspect.

This award is one of six sponsored by WEM Foundation and provides winners with an unrestricted $10,000 award for each recipient to spend as they wish.

Melbye and her husband Chris own a 40-acre hobby farm and raise horses. They also have an 18-month-old son, Blake.

She graduated from University of Minnesota Crookston with a large animal management degree and later went on to the University of Minnesota, St. Paul earning a masters degree in education with an emphasis on agriculture.

The WEM Educator awards program was created by Whitney and Betty MacMillan and their WEM Foundation, and is administered yearly by the Center of Academic Excellence along with the Minnesota Regional Service Agency.

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