Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October Program of the Month: Central Columbia FFA Chapter

Pennsylvania is home to over 150 FFA chapters, representing the Blue and Gold at its finest. There is one chapter that has stood above the rest this month to become our October program of the month. The Central Columbia FFA Chapter!

The mission of the FFA is to create a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education. Since 1942, Central Columbia’s Agricultural Science Program and FFA Chapter strives to achieve this mission through opportunities provided in an intracurricular experience combining classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experiences, and FFA!

Classroom Instruction:

In 1942, Mr. Robert Eckrote laid the blueprint and built the foundation of the Central Columbia Agriculture Science Program. Mr. Eckrote was able to provide opportunity of schoold based education to those who had interest in pursuing a career in agricultural production at the time. Later, Mr. Carl Everett would build upon the foundation of Mr. Eckrote by continuing to teach traditional agricultural production curriculum; however, he recognized the importance of expanding the program’s involvement in other agriculture industries by adding an additional emphasis to animal sciences. In 1991, the third Agricultural Science Instructor Mr. Doug Brown not only continued to build upon the past, but he expanded and created blueprints to build a foundation to take the program into a new direction of curriculum. Mr. Brown added courses in areas such as Forest Science, Wildlife
Science and Environmental Resources.  Creating more interest among students, and increasing student enrollment. In turn, this created growth for the program and chapter as a whole, making it necessary to add a second agricultural instructor.  The fourth agricultural science instructor, Mr. Curtis Turner was able to build upon Mr. Brown’s new direction of curriculum leading the program in the direction of land surveying and animal sciences. Together Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner provide diverse opportunities to students. They recognized at the high school level, it was important for students  to understand fundamental agricultural through education at the middle school level. This allowed Central Columbia to be 1 of 6 programs in Pennsylvania to have a middle school chapter. The middle school program puts much emphasis in the exploration of agriculture to develop the students’ interest in the high school programs. With instruction at both the middle and high school, Central Columbia is able to provide instruction in multiple topic areas of agriculture including the following: Ag Science I, II, III, IV, Environmental Science, Land Surveying, Animal Science, Forest Science, and Wildlife Science

Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE):

Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner recognize the students’ achievements inside and outside of the classroom. “As a program, all students carry an approved SAE project that can be very diverse from Agricultural Research to On-Farm Employment and all projects in between.  Our chapter’s most common SAE project would be Off-Farm Employment.” These diverse experiences provide each student the chance to apply the knowledge they learn in the diverse classroom courses offered. It is obvious students put forth a lot of effort into to their experience. In recent years numerous students have been named Northern Region Stars, and State Stars in their project area. There have even been a few students that competed at Eastern States for Eastern Regional Stars and continued on to be a National Star Finalist. This was achieved through the students’ ambition and good record keeping as they utilized the AET program.


Mr. Brown and Mr. Turner also recognize the students’ interest to test their knowledge gained through classroom instruction and SAE. Students are provided the opportunity to participate in FFA Career Development Events to test their knowledge in chosen areas. Mr. Brown states, “Our FFA Chapter has had many great students and members in which each accomplished an honor at some time in their educational career.  The Central Columbia FFA Chapter and Agricultural/Environmental Science Program strives to enable all students to learn and become effective members of their society through Career Pathways which educates all students for success in adulthood.”
Recent FFA Accomplishments:
·        National Chapter Award program recipient at the National FFA Convention
·        National Tribute Chapter from the National FFA Organization
·        Beyond the Blue Jacket Campaign Chapter
·        5th place Agronomy Team at the Big E
·        Various Career and Leadership Development Event individual and team placings at State and National level

Overall, the Central Columbia Agricultural Science Program and FFA Chapter provides students with opportunities that can lead them to success as they combine their experiences of classroom instruction, supervised agricultural experience, and FFA. All these opportunities allow the students of this program to strive to grow in leadership and career success as they continue to build on their interest of their career pathway in agriculture. 

To learn more about starting on the path to having a career that makes a positive impact on the lives of students across the globe by becoming an agricultural educator, please contact the agricultural teacher education program at Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSUon Facebookor on our blog.

Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

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