COLUMBUS – Larry Lokai was honored as the 2019 Mentor to Students Award winner by The Ohio State University Department of Agricultural Communications, Education, and Leadership Alumni Board at the 2019 Annual Banquet at The Ohio State University. Cyndi Brill, past president of the College Of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Board, nominated Lokai and was present for the presentation.
Lokai earned his first degree from The Ohio State University in 1967 and his second degree in 1973. For 15 years he served as a board member of the Department of Agricultural Communications, Education, and Leadership Alumni Board and president of the alumni board in 2003.
The award is presented to an individual who was a mentor to both high school and college students involved with agricultural education.
Since retirement of a 30-year career in agricultural education in 1996, Lokai has advised and coached students in 36 FFA chapters as a retired FFA advisor. Students have won state titles seven of the past 10 years from four Ohio FFA chapters, including West Liberty-Salem FFA, 2013; Lynchburg Clay FFA, 2018; Versailles FFA, 2010; and East Knox, 2016, 2017 and 2019. From 1998-2001 Lokai coached The Ohio State University Poultry Judging team while a staff member of the Animal Sciences Department to three straight top five national team honors at the collegiate level.
This year he was a coach for FFA Milk Quality & Products Career Development Event, contests at four Ohio high school locations, earning the top four team honors in Ohio. State champion East Knox FFA of Howard won first place honors for the third time in four years and will represent Ohio FFA in Indianapolis, Indiana, in October. The second place team was from Felicity Franklin FFA in Felicity and advances to the Big “E” in September in Springfield, Massachusetts. The third team coached this year was from East Clinton FFA in Lees Creek and will represent Ohio FFA at the World Dairy Expo in Madison, Wisconsin, in October. Versailles FFA placed fourth in the Ohio contest and will be an alternate team. Additionally eight of the top 10 Ohio individuals and 16 of the top 20 Ohio students judging in the Ohio FFA Milk Quality & Products contest were from the top four schools coached.
Since retirement in 1996, Lokai has been the official judge for the Ohio FFA Poultry contest in 1999, 2000 and 2001. He was the contest official at the Ohio Milk Quality & Products contest in 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006. He has been an official judge at the National FFA Poultry Career Development Event since 1983, now in his 36th term, and was a 20-year member of the National FFA Career Development Milk Quality & Products committee from 1986 to 2006.
Additional mentoring projects include being an official poultry judge at Ohio and area state poultry shows. Since 1968 he has judged in 83 Ohio county shows and 97 other shows in Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Kentucky and California, working with youth shows.
Submitted by Larry Lokai.