Local Students Earn $10,000 Scholarships

Despite having their in-school classes, extracurricular activities, proms, senior trips and graduation ceremonies abruptly shifted to virtual attendance or altogether canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, not all was lost.  

Matt Lutsey, president of Waseda Farms and grandson of program founder Thomas H. Lutsey, announced the selection of five graduating high school students for the 2020 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship. Each scholar receives a four-year, $10,000 college scholarship.



“To say the least, this year has been uniquely challenging, disruptive, worrisome and painful for so many because of the unexpected and unfortunate spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19),” Matt Lutsey said. “As our hearts go out to those in our communities who have lost resources, jobs, businesses, and, tragically, loved ones, our team at Waseda Farms has remained committed to the mission of the Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship program: ‘Supporting the future of agriculture through education.’ We tip are hats to the Class of 2020 for their grit and resolve as they completed the school year under trying circumstances. And we thank the over 150 graduates who applied for the Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholarship this year; the response and pool of applicants was impressive!”


Two of the five 2020 Thomas H. Lutsey-Waseda Farms Scholarship recipients are from our area and include:

Kaylee Mess, Rosendale, Wis. Advocating for agriculture comes naturally for the Laconia High School alumna. The “farm kid” has spent countless hours away from her studies and work on her family’s dairy farm by making the rounds at fairs and other community events to educate the public about the agricultural world. With a particular interest in introducing kids to the dairy industry, Mess wants to be a high school agriculture teacher and FFA adviser. She was her school’s FFA president, involved in other activities, and strong academically with a 3.8 grade-point average. Mess, who is the third Laconia graduate to be named a Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholar (first since 2010), plans to study agriculture education at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.


Ben Stone, Ripon, Wis. Inspired by his mother, a veterinarian who died of cancer when he was just 7 years old, Stone is determined to forge a career as a vet specializing in large animals. He plans to study pre-veterinary medicine at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. Stone has logged plenty of hands-on experience working on and managing his family’s dairy farm, which features Guernsey cattle. As the first graduate of Omro High School to earn a Lutsey-Waseda Farms scholarship, Stone followed in the footsteps of his father and an uncle by serving as the school’s FFA president. Stone also was president of the school band, in which he played drums, was a team captain in wrestling and cross-country, and was president of his local 4-H club. He graduated with a stellar grade-point average of 3.9.

Since its inception in 1986, the Lutsey-Waseda Farms program, which is supported by Waseda Farms, has awarded almost $800,000 in scholarship money to 118 scholars.