ATHENS — Selfless. Outstanding. Dedicated.
These were just a few of the words used to describe Athens High School agricultural educator David Steinfelt on Tuesday prior to being announced as a finalist for the Nationwide Insurance Golden Owl Award.
The award, which has expanded into Pennsylvania for the first time, recognizes and honors ag-focused teachers with resources to help advance their classrooms. Steinfelt joins just three other finalists out of 98 nominations from around the state.
“This nomination recognizes ag educators for their outstanding service to the ag education of our students,” high school Principal Corey Mosher said. “They are preparing the next generation of the ag industry.”
Steinfelt received $500 on Tuesday for being nominated as a finalist, with a chance to earn $3,000 to support education when the winner is announced in June.
The announcement was a held as a surprise to a full auditorium of students, who burst into enthusiastic applause when they learned Steinfelt was nominated. The event also featured words from representatives from the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, Pennsylvania Future Farmers of America and Gannon Associates.
“This is an exciting day,” Sean Bierne of Gannon Associates said. “Education is crucial to the future of the ag industry. This man (Steinfelt) is selfless and very giving of his time. He will do anything he can to help students be successful in the classroom and in the future. His dedication is unbelievable.”
Steinfelt was humbled by the nomination, and gave credit to his students.
“I’m pretty honored to be nominated as a finalist,” he said. “I don’t really seek it out. It’s the students that make it all possible, and I just guide them as they need help.”