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Cate Schlagel Grows Into a Future Farmer and Educator

Cover graphic for senior snapshot featuring Cate Schlagel

For anyone who knows Berthoud High School senior Catherine (Cate) Schlagel, it comes as no surprise that her dream is to become an agriculture teacher and Future Farmers of America adviser. Cate has attended Berthoud schools since kindergarten and has never known a time when she wasn’t around agriculture. 

“It’s been generations; both sides of my family are into farming and cattle and making that their whole lives,” she says. “It’s something I’ve grown up with.”

Now that she is a senior, Cate Schlagel is president of the Berthoud High FFA chapter, a club that her late mother started at the school. When Cate was in eighth grade, her mother passed away after battling leukemia for a year and a half. Cate remembers how challenging that time was for her family, especially once her mother went to a hospital in Texas, where she spent her last months from October 2019 to January 2020. 

“My mom’s passing is very hard to talk to people about. Unless you’ve experienced it, it’s very hard to understand,” she says.

Cate Schlagel’s Passion for Agriculture and Hard Work

A young Cate Schlagel stands with mother, father, and sister in front of window with city in background

Cate’s mother had been a teacher at Bill Reed Middle School for 20 years when she got sick, and Cate has many fond memories of the time she got to spend with her mom, particularly working with cattle. Since she was very young, Cate has been showing cattle through 4-H (described on their website as America’s largest youth development organization—empowering nearly six million young people with the skills to lead for a lifetime). 

“I think I’m a lot more hardworking than a lot of kids my age,” Cate says. “If I didn’t put in the work, the success wouldn’t show. It taught me a sense of responsibility and how to care for things.” 

Cate Schlagel cares very much for her animals; even when they are challenging to manage, she is always glad she has the opportunity.

“It’s unpredictable and always changing, but the pros definitely outweigh the cons,” she says. “I think of my calves as my best friends because I can tell them anything, and they’re not going to tell anyone, so it’s also a big de-stressor.” 

Cate still has all of the breeding heifers she has gotten since she started showing animals. She says she has gained so much from her many years in 4-H and FFA that it has made her passionate about teaching agriculture (ag.) to our country’s youth. 

“Ag is important because everything around us is ag-based, whether you eat it, wear it, or drink it,” she says. “We’re building more urban areas and running out of farmland. It’s taking more and more for farmers and ranchers to produce what we need. It’s important to see what it’s really like.”

Looking Toward a Big Move, Bright Future

Cate Schlegel's father wraps his arms around her and her sister as they stand on trail in front of trees and rolling hills

Cate will attend Texas Tech University in Lubbock in the fall, majoring in agriculture with a minor in education. While she says she can’t wait to move to Texas, she worries about leaving her dad and her older sister, who has intellectual disabilities. 

“I’ve had a big role in my sister’s life,” she says. “I have had to parent her a lot of the time. It’s really scary leaving her and my dad alone.”

Helping to care for her sister has taught Cate a lot. She has also served as a peer buddy for Unified Basketball, which she calls an “amazing program put on by a bunch of great people.” 

“My sister’s challenges give me a different perspective of the world,” she says. “You have so many opportunities laid out in front of you that they can’t have. When talking to other people, you have a different view. I’m not judgmental when I talk to people I don’t know. You never know what people are going through.”

But having lived in Berthoud her whole life, Cate is anxious to be in a new environment and meet new people. 

“I’m beyond excited,” she says. “My whole family lives within a two-mile radius of us. I will miss them, but they can come visit.”

Portrait of a Graduate


Positively facilitates and contributes to teamwork

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Class of 2024