Neil Kolstad, a St. James native and graduate of St. James High School, was the keynote speaker at the 12th Annual Agribusiness Banquet Monday night.

Kolstad spoke about his time in the United States Peace Corps, when he worked as an economic development agent in Senegal. There, he worked on projects such as waste management, ecotourism, handicrafts, agribusiness, and street children.

“Knowing what I know now, I would do it again,” he said of the Peace Corps. “I would recommend it for anyone, but I know it’s not for everyone--I do think everyone should do at least one year of service work.”

Since the program was “total immersion,” he was thrown right into the culture; he left for the exotic land the day after he graduated from Carleton College, and--though he had done his homework--he said, “You can never prepare yourself for really being there.” 

“I wanted to make a positive, meaningful difference in the lives of others, and I think I did that,” he said. “I’m proud of my service.”

For the complete story, please see yesterday's print edition of the St. James Plaindealer.