AXTELL — Nicole Cederburg spent the end of her senior year at Axtell High School not in a classroom, but in the field with her dad.

When the school closed in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cederburg was able to stay busy. It’s not unusual for her to be behind the wheel of a tractor or combine, but she doesn’t typically get to spend the spring planting.

“It was very different but I tried to stay extremely positive during it because there is nothing we could do about it. As hard as it was to stay positive with all the negativity, I somehow managed to,” Cederburg said. “It was pretty good for the most part because I could help Dad, and work on scholarships.”

Being a part of agriculture always has been important for Cederburg, who grew up on the farm. She got actively involved in Axtell’s FFA chapter when it began two years ago.

As the treasurer her junior year and president her senior year, Cederburg let many people know that FFA isn’t just for people involved in agriculture.

“It’s hard for people, they think it’s just for farmers,” she explained. “That’s what I’ve had to explain to a couple of friends. It’s not just agriculture.”

FFA had taught Cederburg vital life lessons such as leadership development, preparing for job interviews, communication and organization. She continued to lead and encourage her fellow students during the pandemic by posting videos on the school’s Facebook page.

“We decided that since we got shut down a couple weeks before our banquet, we were like, ‘Let’s have some positivity and keep everyone positive.’ Each of us officers created a one, two-minute video that we put out,” Cederburg said.

In Cederburg’s video, she talked about how people in agricultural continued to work during the pandemic to keep food on people’s tables. She also recognized essential workers and thanked them for their efforts.

Cederburg plans to spend her summer helping her dad on the farm, babysitting, spending time with her family and getting her 4-H projects ready for the fair. She will attend Nebraska Methodist College in Omaha where she will study nursing.

She hopes to return home when she finishes college in order to continue helping on the farm.

“I plan to go into nursing but I want to be able to come back and help my dad on the farm and still keep that involvement,” she said.

ashley.bebensee@kearneyhub.com