This year’s recipients of the Mid-Prairie High School Alumni Awards will be recognized while they ride in the Kalona Days Parade at 10 a.m. June 15 and following the Community Award presentations at 2:30 p.m. on stage. Community members are also invited to stop by the Mid-Prairie Alumni & Friends Association tent, located in the KCTC lot, to greet award winners and catch up with other alumni.
The recipients of the 2019 Alumni Awards are:
Steve Berger, Class of 1982, is the winner of the Alumni Achievement Award. He and his wife Julie, continue the fourth generation family farm near Wellman. In addition to continuing his father’s (Dennis) tradition of no-till farming, Steve has been a leader in the promoting of cover crops. Last year Steve and his wife were named 2018 Iowa Master Farmer, an award which is given by the Wallace’s Farmer magazine. He was also a recipient of the No-Till Innovator by Syngenta and the No-Till magazine in 2015 and Conservation Legacy Award by American Soybean Association in 2015.
Blake Hershberger, Class of 2002, is a recipient of the Alumni Vocational Award. In 2005, Blake started Hershberger Enterprises, LLC with his sister as his first employee. By 2006 Hershberger Enterprises had grown to 20 employees with a focus on agriculture buildings doing hog building pits. Over the years his business has continued to grow and transitioned to more commercial and residential work. He moved into concrete drilling and cutting plus he purchased a concrete pumping company with offices in Pella and Des Moines. He has since added a shop in Iowa City. Hershberger now has 13 pumps and belts and services an area that includes Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri and now has 48 employees.
Jeremiah Gingerich, Class of 1996, is the recipient of the Service Award. He was selected for the Service Award for his work with the Mid-Prairie Foundation and serving on the Kalona Historical Society (KHS), both non-profit organizations. He has served on the MP Foundation for 17 years including 3 years as president. He has served on the KHS Board of directors for 15 years including two years as president. Jeremiah is currently vice president/branch manager of Federation Bank in Wellman. He and his wife, Katie, live on a farm near Wellman.
Jessica Faselt, Class of 2010, is the recipient of the Fine Arts Award. An American Soprano, Jessica is in her first year of the Lindemanm Young Artist Program at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She made her Metropolitan Opera debut as a Novice’ in Puccini’s Suor Angelica. She was the 2018 winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions performing with the Met in the Grand Final Concert. Jessica also was a Studio Artist with the Florida Grand Opera. She is a graduate of the University of Iowa School of Music with honors. Jessica received her Masters of Music from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music and received the prestigious Corbett Award.
Don Showalter, Class of 1970, is the recipient of the Athletic Award. A former Mid-Prairie High School athlete and basketball coach from 1984 to 2012, Don has taken his basketball skills to another level with the USA Basketball. He also coached basketball at Lone Tree, Central Elkader, and Iowa City and started with USA Basketball in 2016. His career record in 42 seasons is 601-346. He was the 12th coach in Iowa history to reach 600 wins. That includes 446-202 at Mid-Prairie. He was a 10 time Iowa Coach of the Year, National Federation State and Regional Coach of the Year, National Coach of the Year by the National High School Athletic Coaches Association. He won a number of other honors for his coaching skills. He also taught a number of NBA players including James McAdoo and Quinn Cook of the Golden State Warriors.
Steve Yotty, Class of 1971, is the recipient of the Community Impact Award. The nomination of Steve into the Community Impact Hall of Fame award gave an impressive story of his involvement in business development, community involvement and support of everything that is Kalona. Steve now manages the family businesses of Yotty’s Ace Hardware, Yotty’s Golf Cars and Service and Yotty’s Ice Cream. Steve was elected to the Kalona Volunteer Fire Dept. in l974 and succeeds his father, Bart, as chief in l995. Steve was also elected to succeed his father as president of the Kalona Cooperative Technologies Company in 2006. Through his leadership, KCTC now provides telephone and fiber optics internet services to Washington.
Chris Hotchkiss will announce the Alumni Award winners during the parade and will introduce them from the big stage following the announcement of the Kalona Community Award winners by City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh.