RAYMOND – Whitney Lehn does not get the vacation most teachers get when summer starts.
For the Raymond Central FFA advisor and life-long 4-H volunteer, it’s the time of year filled with county fairs, judging show competitions and watching her students have success. She wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I love getting out and being involved in county fairs,” Lehn said. “It’s oneof the highlights of my years as a student and then experiencing that with my students now.”
In fact, this has been how she’s spent her summers since she was five years old except she wasn’t judging or watching her students succeed. She was competing and succeeding in 4-H competitions herself.
Now, 24 years later, Lehn is 32 years old and continues to participate in 4-H through volunteering, judging and devoting the past 10 years to teaching the future of agriculture.
This is why Lehn was presented the Heart of 4-H Award for the month of March for her outstanding volunteer service. When she received the email informing her of the award, she was shocked.
“I was really ecstatic,” Lehn said. “I called all my family members right away. It was really honoring and humbling to be recognized by an organization that I love dearly.”
Lehn grew up on a ranch right outside of Lincoln and attended and graduated from Waverly High School. She mostly showed cattle in the show ring, but she also participated in sewing and the cookie competitions.
As she grew older, she started volunteering any time she could to learn about other animals besides cattle. This kind of giving back is something her parents instilled in her from a young age.
Her experiences in 4-H and love for agriculture ultimately drove her to becoming a teacher. Lehn has been teaching at Raymond Central for the last three years and has seven years of experiences at high schools throughout Nebraska. Lehn said she has loved being able to watch her students compete in both Lancaster County and Saunders County fairs.
Lehn said FFA is something that flourishes the skills that one learns in 4-H and makes them into careers. FFA also has the power to create connections that can lead students to internships and future careers.
While she has loved her time at Raymond Central, Lehn said she will not be coming to Raymond Central for the 2021-2022 school year so she can spend more time with her family. Despite this, she plans to continue volunteering for both 4-H and FFA.
For Lehn, one of many positives of being a part of 4-H or FFA is that regardless of what someone is interested in, there is always a place for them.