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Kindred native's future rooted in North Dakota

Taya Spelhaug's North Dakota roots run deep. The Kindred farm where she grew up has been in her family more than 100 years. Six generations, including her parents, Terry and Carlotta, and older brother, Adam, attended Gol Lutheran Church near Kin...

Taya Spelhaug's North Dakota roots run deep.

The Kindred farm where she grew up has been in her family more than 100 years.

Six generations, including her parents, Terry and Carlotta, and older brother, Adam, attended Gol Lutheran Church near Kindred, which closed earlier this year.

Spelhaug, a North Dakota State University senior, hopes her home state will always be home.

"I think my career option will allow me to stay around here," Spelhaug said. "Family is a big thing with me. Plus, I've loved it here ever since I was little."

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A psychology major, Spelhaug plans to attend graduate classes at NDSU with an eye toward becoming a counselor or family therapist.

When not attending class, she works part time for Creative Caring for Reaching Independence, an agency that assists people with developmental disabilities in Clay County.

"We go bowling, or sometimes I help clients with chores, or cleaning their house," Spelhaug said. "Anything they feel they need help with, I do."

The experience cemented her career goal of becoming a therapist. "I like to work with people," she said.

That's been true from way back, according to her mother.

"She has always been for the underdog. Very caring and giving," Carlotta Spelhaug said.

Taya Spelhaug joined her local 4-H chapter when she was 8.

She later became involved in FFA, where she was quick to assume leadership roles, according to Curt Leslie, the FFA adviser at Kindred High School.

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"She always stepped up to the plate when we needed something done," Leslie said of Spelhaug, who recently received her American degree, the highest award given by the national FFA.

Ten years ago, FFA was male-dominated, Leslie said. Spelhaug helped change that.

"Five of our six local FFA officers are young women," Leslie said. "She (Taya) made it cool."

Spelhaug said more should be done to encourage young people to create futures for themselves in North Dakota, rather than look elsewhere for career opportunities.

"There are a lot of bright people out there," she said. "If they just say, 'Hey, I'm going to put roots down here and make something happen,' then it will happen.

"I have a sense of pride being from North Dakota. I've worked hard and have had a lot of different experiences: being out in the barnyard when a cow is giving birth, exploring pastures or getting lost in our woods.

"I want my kids to have those opportunities."

Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555

I'm a reporter and a photographer and sometimes I create videos to go with my stories.

I graduated from Minnesota State University Moorhead and in my time with The Forum I have covered a number of beats, from cops and courts to business and education.

I've also written about UFOs, ghosts, dinosaur bones and the planet Pluto.

You may reach me by phone at 701-241-5555, or by email at dolson@forumcomm.com
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