EAU CLAIRE – April Lake isn’t going to stop working on the farm now that’s she’s a college graduate. She will be working for Lakeland Cooperative in Ridgeland, too, but as the fifth generation on the Rick Lake farm in Boyceville, the farm is too much in her blood not to be helping out.
As a graduate of the Agriscience Technician program at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC), Lake will bring a new level of expertise to the farm, and be a strong contributor to her employer.
Lake was one of 13 Agriscience Technician graduates honored at the CVTC Spring Commencement Friday, May 6 at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. They joined 639 graduates in 47 programs, with Nursing-Associate Degree with 83 graduates being the largest program, followed by Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement with 41.
On Thursday, CVTC honored 67 graduates in eight programs at the River Falls campus commencement.
“I grew up not knowing what I wanted to do,” Lake said. “For the longest time, I thought I would go into the medical field, but I can’t sit still; I have to be moving.” So she looked into the Agriscience Technician program at CVTC.
“I talked to people who said it was so hands-on I would love it very much,” Lake said. “I’ve enjoyed what I’m doing immensely. I couldn’t have picked anything better.”
Lake has been able to continue to live at the home farm and commute to her CVTC classes, and make time for some farm chores, too. “We grow about 1,500 acres of soybeans, corn, and snap and kidney beans,” Lake said.
Through her education, Lake is now certified in artificial insemination, and pesticide and seed-treating operations. She’s also working at receiving her commercial driver’s license.
Lake started working part time for Lakeland Cooperative Monday, May 9. She’ll be applying fertilizer, providing customer support and recommending seeds and chemicals. “By the end of the year, hopefully, they’ll hire me as an agronomist,” she said.
The Lake Farm will now have its own in-house agronomist, ready to help in making management decisions.
Many other CVTC graduates already have jobs lined up; others will be furthering their education, and some will be looking for work. Some advice was provided by commencement speaker Trevor Wuethrich, president and co-owner of Grassland Dairy in Greenwood, a graduate of CVTC’s Marketing program in 1994.
“Your diploma, albeit a good one, doesn’t entitle you to success,” Wuethrich said. “It gets you an invite to the dance. It’s what you do when you get there that will define you success. There will be failures along the way and there will be personal sacrifices that need to be made. But please remember to love what you do and have fun doing it.”
Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the larger community. Campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west central Wisconsin. CVTC is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.