EMMA SMITH of the Seneca FFA is flanked by Pam Schaefer-Punke and Seneca FFA Advisor, Kent Weber, as she is presented the first Herman and Carol Schaefer Memorial Scholarship recently at the Seneca FFA banquet and awards ceremony. photo by Tom Maier

Herman and Carol Schaefer left a legacy of agriculture and community service to their nine children. Those children have now perpetuated that legacy by establishing the Herman and Carol Schaefer Scholarship to be administered through the Seneca FFA. The inaugural, $1,000 scholarship was presented to Emma Smith at the Seneca FFA’s banquet and awards program conducted April 24. Emma is the daughter of Luri Maier-Lorntz and Dave Smith. She will take advantage of her scholarship when she attends Illinois State University this fall, where she will study animal science. Smith excelled in all areas of the agricultural education program at Seneca High School including receiving the State FFA Degree, being a state runner-up twice in the fruit production proficiency award area, and ranking high in many FFA Career Development Events (contests). This includes being a member of the recent state champion horticulture team. “Emma is a true leader, not only as an officer of the FFA but in everything she does in the classroom and in the athletic area at Seneca High School,” commented FFA Advisor, Jeff Maierhofer. “Her work ethic, love of agriculture, and the genuine care she shows for others have to be exactly what the Schaefers wanted in the first scholarship winner.”



Pam Schaefer-Punke spoke on behalf of the Schaefer family at the FFA awards program and presented the award to Smith. “Our parents came from very humble beginnings, lived through the depression, went to great lengths just to get to high school, and then put all nine of their kids through college. They taught us the value of education and hard work.” Herman Schaefer, a 1945 graduate of SHS, was a life-long grain and cattle farmer who believed strongly in community involvement. He served on the Grundy County Board for a decade and was involved in township government serving as Norman Township Supervisor for almost 30 years. In addition, he was on the Immaculate Conception Church parish board in Morris and on the Illinois State Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) board of directors. Carol (Hill) Schaefer was one of the founding board members of We Care of Grundy County as well as helped form the original Grundy County Community Hospice. Herman and Carol believed in “paying it forward” before it was even a thing. “That’s why my family members and I are here today,” continued Pam, “to do the right thing and pay it forward, as my Mom and Dad would have wanted and would have been proud to do…to give back to the community that they came from…by sharing their financial legacy to help educate future generations of their alma maters who have a passion to further agriculture and be active community servants, just as they were…continuing to pay it forward for generations to come.”

Pam Schaefer-Punke spoke on behalf of the Schaefer family at the FFA awards program and presented the award to Smith. “Our parents came from very humble beginnings, lived through the depression, went to great lengths just to get to high school, and then put all nine of their kids through college. They taught us the value of education and hard work.” Herman Schaefer, a 1945 graduate of SHS, was a life-long grain and cattle farmer who believed strongly in community involvement. He served on the Grundy County Board for a decade and was involved in township government serving as Norman Township Supervisor for almost 30 years. In addition, he was on the Immaculate Conception Church parish board in Morris and on the Illinois State Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service (ASCS) board of directors. Carol (Hill) Schaefer was one of the founding board members of We Care of Grundy County as well as helped form the original Grundy County Community Hospice. Herman and Carol believed in “paying it forward” before it was even a thing. “That’s why my family members and I are here today,” continued Pam, “to do the right thing and pay it forward, as my Mom and Dad would have wanted and would have been proud to do…to give back to the community that they came from…by sharing their financial legacy to help educate future generations of their alma maters who have a passion to further agriculture and be active community servants, just as they were…continuing to pay it forward for generations to come.”

CAROL AND HERMAN SCHAEFER, whose family recently established a scholarship in their memory for a Seneca FFA member, were leaders in agriculture and their community.

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