Swan Valley Regional Secondary School
Swan River, MB, Swan Valley School Division

Last month, grade 12 student Caitlin Stewart went to Des Moines, Iowa to participate in the Global Youth Institute (GYI). Caitlin was one of two Manitoba students selected to represent Manitoba at the GYI. She found out about the program through her Environmental Management teacher, Kari Goethe. Kari teaches various courses under the program and is passionate about hands-on, real world learning opportunities.

“In my three years at high school, Mrs. Goethe has helped to foster in me a love for the environment,” said Caitlin. “She has opened my eyes to realize the many changes people need to be making to help humans continue to exist.”

Last year, Caitlin nominated Kari for Manitoba’s Excellence in Education Award, which Kari won in April 2019. Her incredible classroom looks more like a museum, with hundreds of taxidermy mounts adorning the walls and surfaces, encouraging students to learn about living things and the environment around them.

Although Kari’s father had a farm when she was growing up, she doesn’t have a formal education in agriculture. She started becoming interested in ag education through Agriculture in the Classroom-Manitoba’s program Journey 2050, an online game developed by Nutrien that teaches students about the challenge of feeding a world population of over 10 billion by the year 2050.

Kari has also brought students to AITC-M’s GenAg program for two years. GenAg is an agriculture careers marketing program that gives students a chance to compete every year in Winnipeg in May.

She is passionate about getting students out of the classroom and into real-life learning opportunities. Swan River’s remote location can make the cost of field trips prohibitive, so Goethe even obtained a Class 2 driver’s licence to reduce the cost of field trips by driving the bus herself.

This October, Kari headed to Des Moines with Caitlin where they had the chance to participate in the GYI, along with 215 other students and their teachers or mentors from across the US and around the world.

“It was pretty phenomenal for the students to meet delegates from all these countries and have opportunities to talk to university professors,” said Kari.

This year was Kari’s first year taking a student to the GYI but says she will recommend the program to students who are interested in pursuing a career in agriculture.

Kari’s unwavering enthusiasm and commitment to education have made a great impact on students and staff.

“She is always there for me and will listen to me talk about anything and will give me helpful advice when I need it,” said Caitlin. “All the many incredible things Mrs. Goethe does are done with a positive attitude and a smile. She is an excellent teacher and an amazing person!”

Applications for GYI 2020 are currently open and close on January 27, 2020. Teachers with students who are interested in agriculture are encouraged to tell their students about this opportunity. Download a poster to hang in your school here.