For eight years, Anna Beckman has raised meat goats, looking after their feeding, cleanup and health care. Her hard work came to a culmination during Mt. Pleasant Community High School’s Senior Awards Ceremony on Thursday, May 16, as she was recognized as the first student in 30 years to receive a National FFA Organization Meat Goat Production Scholarship.
“It started with a pair of bottle goats and grew from there,” Beckman said, who now has a heard of 80 goats. “It’s something I’ve grown up with. At the end of the day, you can rely on them being there because they’re always happy to see you, even though they’re just like ‘feed us, please,’” she said with a smile.
Mt. Pleasant Community High School (MPCHS) hasn’t been able to award a National FFA Organization scholarship in so long because the program was discontinued in 1991. Beckman got her start in FFA in Mediapolis.
Beckman also received the Iowa Degree this year, the state FFA degree which is awarded to FFA members who have demonstrated the highest level of commitment to the association and made significant accomplishments in their Supervised Agricultural Experiences. She is eligible to compete at the national level.
Beckman is attending Northwest Missouri State University to pursue a degree in agriculture education.
MPCHS is launching a new agriculture education and FFA program in the fall of 2019.
Beckman was one of many MPCHS students from the Class of 2019 to walk away from the Awards Ceremony with scholarships and awards in hand.
Shaleen Thiengmany was announced the Class of 2019 valedictorian. She is attending Stanford University to study science in the fall.
“Something that really surprised me (about high school) was how involved I got in the community,” Thiengmany said. “Not only being president of Interact Club (a national service organization sponsored by Rotary Club), but being involved in music has pushed me to be more active in volunteering.”
Thiengmany said she owes much of her community involvement to her teachers Jim and Marlene DePriest.
“They showed me how valuable our community is and how to give back,” Thiengmany said.
Thiengmany said she would love to return to Mt. Pleasant after college, but it depends on where her career takes her. Something she appreciates about Mt. Pleasant is how small the community is and how it gave her opportunities to grow, branch out and explore.
The Rotary Noon Scholarship was one of the scholarships Thiengmany received that meant the most to her.
Jennifer Crull presented the Noon Rotary award, saying they were looking for two students who displayed volunteerism and involvement in their community in addition to their academic achievements.
“It encompasses a lot, not just academics, but being involved in the community. It’s taken the four years (of high school) and put it into one package,” Thiengmany said.
Lucas Lee also received numerous scholarships and awards Thursday evening, including being the other recipient of the Noon Rotary scholarship. His favorite scholarship, however, was from the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center, where he has donated a gallon of blood and platelets.
“One of my favorite thing when I go is at the end, they give me a sheet that says how many lives I’ve helped. I’m at 25 lives so far, and that means a lot to me and is really impactful,” Lee said.
Lee began donating blood because of a blood drive at MPCHS. After he donated that first time, they told him he had a really good platelet count. He started donating every two weeks.
“I’ve really enjoyed that, and I’m kind of proud of that one.”
Lee enlisted in the National Guard and will leave for basic training this summer. He hopes to start college at the University of Iowa by the spring of 2020, where he will study law or medicine.
After the Awards Ceremony, Lee reflected on the past four years at MPCHS. He said the music program — theater, show choir, jazz band and band — has been a fun experience and helped him grow as a person and a leader.
While Lee is unsure where his career could take him after college, he said, “I love the people and commitment to community we have here (in Mt. Pleasant).”
For a full list of Thursday night’s award recipients see Monday’s edition of The News.