By Lorae Vardas
Shilo Hillyer and Charles “Chuck” Boser were named Students of the Month for March at Pierz Healy High School. The selection committee chooses seniors who excel academically while participating in a variety of extracurricular activities. They also base their decision on leadership ability, good citizenship and community involvement.
“Shilo Hillyer is an outstanding young student and leader in our school and community,” said Jonathan McCollum, science instructor. “Both inside and outside the classroom, Shilo is a positive role model and hard-working person who understands what it takes to be successful. She gets things done in a manner well beyond her years.”
A born leader, Shilo has attained much success already in FFA. “This school year, she has served as chapter president and Region II president, that includes service on the state officer’s team,” explained Mr. McCollum. “She has handled these responsibilities very well, has learned to delegate authority, make decisions and led students in both planning activities and executing those plans.”
In addition, Shilo holds three FFA letters and served as the organization’s secretary the past two years. She received greenhand, chapter and state degree honors for various projects and last year earned the state proficiency award in equine science placement, a real achievement.
As FFA president, Shilo is charge of coordinating events the chapter hosts annually for the school and community. “Through teamwork, we have accomplished much,” she noted. Music also ranks high on her list of activities. Since ninth grade she’s played in band and pep band, lettering as a junior.
The daughter of George and Christine Hillyer plans on becoming a large animal veterinarian specializing in equine science. She will be attending Central Lakes College in June for an associate degree and will likely transfer to the University of Minnesota St. Paul Campus, or Bemidji State University after that.
Shilo harbors many fond memories relating to horses. For the past three years she competed at the Morrison County Fair in western pleasure, halter and trail events. “I have never had as much fun as when I rode my show horse Northern San Man, a picture perfect registered appaloosa,” she said.
Another moment of pride came last fall when she earned second out of over 200 judges in the Region II FFA horse judging contest. FFA has opened the doors to a lot of unexpected opportunities. For instance, she found it really rewarding to work at the Miracle of Birth Center at the State Fair where she was able to show visitors the animals and talk about agriculture. Many had never been on a farm or seen farm animals.
Despite her busy schedule, Shilo finds time to wait tables at Old Bank Restaurant and help ride and train client horses at the family’s business south of Genola, The Training Stable & Saddlery.
“Shilo will be very successful at her future endeavors due to her work ethic and drive,” concluded McCollum. “She is a credit to her family and the community, and will be a leader in her desired career path.”
Mark Jensen, phy-ed teacher and wrestling coach, had similar words of praise for Chuck Boser, who starred in the 145 lb. class on the Pioneer championship wrestling team.
“I have had the privilege of teaching and coaching Charles throughout his school career. He has a great work ethic and has always excelled academically,” said Mr. Jensen. “He has done this while being a three sport athlete. Besides wrestling, he played running back and corner back in football and is a utility man on the baseball team, playing left field, third base or filling the designated hitter role.”
Awards include a state football championship in 2004 and two state team wrestling championships in 2004 and 2005. Chuck is all-conference in football and wrestling, a four-year letter winner in wrestling, and a three-time letterman in football. Other interests are German Club, Letter Club and ENABL. He belongs to St. John’s Church in Lastrup.
Describing himself as happy and always looking at the good side of things, Chuck really enjoyed his senior year of football. “That season was the most fun by far, even though we didn’t win state,” he said. “Just being with all of my friends and going through the whole experience with them makes it unforgettable.” He’ll also never forget going to a concert in the cities with a friend.
Dependable and upbeat are qualities that should help the son of Colin Boser and Joan Sanoski earn a degree in mechanical engineering. Chuck plans to continue his education at the University of Minnesota-Duluth next fall.
According to Mr. Jensen, Chuck is his father’s right hand man on the family dairy farm north of Pierz. “I’m sure this is where he learned the lessons of working hard at both academics and athletics. Charles has a great attitude when approaching life,” he said. “He is resilient while facing adversity and bounces back with a smile on his face. He eagerly approaches tasks set before him by teachers and coaches. With this attitude and work ethic, Charles Boser will do well in life.
Boser and Hillyer bring to an even dozen the number of seniors now eligible for $1,000 college scholarships in the Student of the Month program sponsored by Farmers and Merchants State Bank in Pierz.