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ACTE Announces South Dakota Agricultural Education Instructor as National Award Finalist


September 13, 2016

Contact: Jarrod Nagurka 
jnagurka@acteonline.org, 703-683-9312 


ACTE Announces South Dakota Agricultural Education Instructor as National Award Finalist

ALEXANDRIA, VA—The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) announces John Rist, agricultural education instructor at Viborg-Hurley Schools in Viborg, South Dakota, as the recipient of the 2016 Region V Carl Perkins Community Service Award. This award recognizes educators who have used career and technical education (CTE) to make a significant impact on a community/humanitarian cause through leadership in programs and activities that promote community involvement. This award was named in honor of the late Congressman Perkins, and is designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated the same humanitarian concerns exemplified by Congressman Perkins.

John Rist delivers all high school courses for Viborg-Hurley School district’s full-time agricultural program, in addition to teaching agricultural education exploration to 7th and 8th graders. The program appeals to students from rural and urban areas alike, with a majority of program completers going on to pursue jobs or postsecondary education in agriculture. Rist has taught at three schools over the past 30 years, leaving a legacy of community service behind with each FFA chapter. In Bowdle, South Dakota, his FFA chapter built new dugouts for the baseball field; worked with the county 4-H clubs to build a new covered show ring at the fairgrounds; planted and maintained a Community Tree Bank; conducted an extensive economic development survey that led to several expanded and new businesses for the community; and conducted an extensive Agricultural Awareness Program for approximately 20+ schools annually in a 60 mile radius of Bowdle.

Recent years have found Rist’s Viborg-Hurley FFA chapter re-siding an old country school-house, making improvements and painting the Danish Heritage Society & Museum building, hosting Old McDonald's Farm during the Turner County Fair, and serving on the local economic development board. When the community mobilized to save its landmark historical theater from closing in 2011, the chapter joined up with a community economic development group to conduct a community survey, assist with fundraising and cleanup and short-term repairs. His students have since become many of the day-to-day volunteers that operate the theater four nights per week. “John Rist is a positive role model and a great mentor to all students who are privileged to partake in his teachings,” says Brett Mellum, High School Principal for Viborg-Hurley School District. Rist currently serves as the South Dakota ACTE President.

Rist is one of four finalists for the 2017 national title. The national winner will be announced at the ACTE Awards Banquet, a dinner and award presentation recognizing the best CTE educators in the country. The event will take place on Wednesday evening, November 30, during ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Awards Banquet is sponsored by Express Employment Professionals, the US Army, CareerSafe, Certiport, Stratasys, and International Baccalaureate. For more information about the ACTE Excellence Awards, visit our webpage.


About ACTE 
The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) is the nation’s largest not-for-profit association committed to the advancement of education that prepares youth and adults for successful careers. ACTE represents the community of CTE professionals, including educators, administrators, researchers, guidance counselors and others at all levels of education. ACTE is committed to excellence in providing advocacy, public awareness and access to resources, professional development and leadership opportunities. 


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