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LP-A Teacher of the Year reaches toward the 'STARs' -- Hogie helps her FACS, FCCLA students shine academically and competitively

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Detroit Lakes, 56501
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

Lake Park-Audubon High School teacher Cheryl Hogie loves what she does for a living, and it shows.

"I always wanted to be a teacher," she says.

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Ever since her two great aunts, also teachers, started giving her their discarded books and classroom materials when she was a young girl, Hogie has been teaching anyone who would listen -- including dolls, pets and family members.

"One summer, I taught Vacation Bible School in a one-room schoolhouse for children ages 3-12," she said. "That gave me a taste of what it was like to teach -- in the same schoolhouse where one of my great aunts had taught classes."

And ever since those early days of teaching imaginary classrooms full of students, Hogie has had a favorite subject: Food and Consumer Sciences (FACS), which was once known as Home Economics.

"I just loved everything we studied during those classes in high school," she says, noting that FACS covers a wide range of subject areas.

One of the things she loved most about it as a student, Hogie says, is that "it taught me things I could use today instead of 2-3 years down the road."

That enthusiasm for her subject matter has continued through to Hogie's current position as a FACS teacher at LP-A -- a position she has held since she and husband Dale (currently superintendent of LP-A Public Schools) moved to the district with their two children in 2000.

And it was that same enthusiasm that undoubtedly played a role in Hogie's selection as LP-A Teacher of the Year for 2007-08.

"I was extremely humbled," Hogie says of her reaction when she learned about her selection. "There are so many other teachers who do wonderful work in the classroom -- they work just as hard if not harder than I do, but they just don't get the recognition."

Hogie notes that the success of the FCCLA program (Family, Career and Community Leaders of America) program -- for which she is the advisor -- has garnered a lot of attention, within the district and elsewhere.

"The FCCLA has been very successful here," she says. "When I came here in 2000, we had 12 members -- this year, we have 64. That's a 35 percent increase in membership alone."

Hogie has also seen 22 of her students advance to national competition since 2004. Of those 22 students, 17 have come home with gold medals, and five with silver.

The FCCLA's national STAR (Students Taking Action with Recognition) events competition includes a series of competitive events in which members are recognized for proficiency and achievement in chapter and individual projects, leadership skills, and career preparation. STAR Events offer individual skill development and application of learning through cooperative, individualized and competitive activities.

The next STAR event for LP-A is a regional competition at Wadena on Feb. 25. Gold medal winners in that competition will advance to state competition, and the top competitors in each of the 20 STAR events will advance to nationals in Orlando, Fla.

One of the things many people may not know about FCCLA, Hogie said, is that all the students participate on a volunteer basis.

"They do it because they're such great kids -- they get no extra credit for it," she says. "They do these volunteer projects because they want to make a positive impact in the community."

When Hogie is not teaching or acting as FCCLA advisor, she and Dale are busy raising their two children: Braeden, 17, who is a junior at LP-A High School in Lake Park, and Breann, 12, who is a sixth grader at LP-A Elementary in Audubon.

A native of Shelly, Minn., Hogie went to high school at what is now known as Norman County West. She went to Minnesota State University Moorhead for two years before finalizing her bachelor's degree in FACS at North Dakota State University in Fargo.

She later completed a master's degree in education administration at NDSU as well.

But it was while she was working as an FACS teacher and high school principal in Sykeston, N.D. -- which involved a 46-mile commute each day -- that Hogie realized having two school administrators in the same family meant that she and her husband hardly ever saw each other. (Dale was serving as a superintendent at both Fessenden and Bowdon, N.D., at that time.)

"We decided that one of us needed to get out of school administration," she said.

So when the positions for an FACS teacher and a high school principal opened up at LP-A at the same time, the Hogies decided it sounded like an ideal opportunity.

"Our children were younger, and we wanted to be closer to family," Hogie adds.

Now, she says, she can't imagine working in a school district where she doesn't know all her students -- and their parents -- by name.

"We're a small enough school that we get to know all our students on a first-name basis," she says.

"I think we have such a dynamic and supportive administration and school board, and such top-notch teachers," she continued, "that we have the ability to individualize (curriculum) for student needs...

"There are more opportunities to say this student or that student needs individual attention. It's a very supportive system."

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