'If there was a "Script Ohio" for agriculture, this is like dotting the "i" in agriculture,' says Bernie Scott, with a wall hanging assembled by his wife, Jean, that he received upon his retirement eight years ago.
TONTOGANY - Retired Otsego High School agriculture teacher Bernie Scott has gotten a few awards in his life, but being named a distinguished Ohio State University alumnus is pretty special, he said.
"If there was a 'Script Ohio' [for] agriculture, this is like dotting the 'i' in agriculture," Mr. Scott said with the seriousness of a diehard Buckeye.
Mr. Scott, 69, taught agriculture education at Otsego from 1962 until his retirement in 1999, and has remained active in the community, most notably with long stints on the boards of the Agricultural Incubator Foundation and the Wood County Soil and Water Conservation District.
He's also president of the Wood County Retired Teachers Association and serves on the Ohio Envirothon Advisory Committee, which oversees an annual natural resources and environmental contest for high school students.
He is retired, but busy.
On March 3, Mr. Scott and six other Ohio State graduates are to receive distinguished alumni honors from the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Services Alumni Society.
It doesn't surprise people like Joe Hirzel, president of the Agricultural Incubator Foundation. He said Mr. Scott was instrumental in getting the nonprofit foundation started.
"The man has just been a tremendous educator," Mr. Hirzel said. "His life has been educating and helping young people to get established and learn. All of his life, he's been teaching, teaching, teaching, and he's very good at communicating those issues."
Mr. Scott said he doesn't recall how he decided to become an ag teacher, though he figures his own agriculture teacher at the former Jefferson High School in Dresden, Ohio, probably influenced him.
He was the first of his family to go to college.
"I guess I wanted to go to Ohio State and maybe my high school classmates persuaded me to go there too," he said. "It was a big challenge."
Mr. Scott said he had no particular plan to spend his career at Otsego High School when he, his wife, and their newborn arrived in Tontogany "sight unseen" in the summer of 1962.
"We put down roots and I guess we stayed here," he said. "Was I ever recruited to go to other schools? Yes, but then I'm sure glad I stayed."
Mr. Scott and his wife, Jean, have seven grown children. They still live in Tontogany.
"The community was very, very good to me," he said. "There's only 370 people here in town, and we just fit well."
In addition to Mr. Scott, OSU also will be recognizing one of Mr. Scott's former students, Elizabeth Belleville, who now lives in Crofton, Md., as a 2007 Young Professional Achievement Award winner.
Ms. Belleville, a former legislative assistant to former U.S. Sen. Mike
DeWine (R., Ohio), now works as a senior legislative and policy analyst with Enterprise Community Partners.
Rebecca Singer of Sherwood, Ohio, also will be recognized with the young professional award.
Active with Farm Bureau and 4-H in Defiance County, she works with the Center for Innovative Food Technology in Toledo.
Contact Jennifer Feehan