Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Mr. Furry’s PSU Visit: Building on the Past to Elevate the Future

On Friday November 4th, 2016 Penn State students enrolled in the College of Agricultural Sciences had the privilege of attending a time sensitive opportunity hosted by the Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and Education. This time sensitive opportunity featured former Penn State Agricultural Education graduate and Greenwood High School Vocational Agricultural educator – Mr. Ted Furry.

L to R: Miranda Kane, Michael Clark, Ted Furry.  Miranda
will student teach at Greenwood High School, Spring 2017.
Michael Clark is a current Greenwood High School agricultural
educator.  Mr. Furry, retired agricultural educator from Greenwood
High School.

Mr. Furry was a 1951 graduate of Penn State in Agricultural Education. In 1955 he began teaching vocational agriculture at Greenwood High School, until 1963 when he became a school administrator.  In1980, Mr. Furry would retire from his involvement in education and community service. Although retired, Mr. Furry never stopped educating.

Fifteen Agricultural and Extension Education students had the opportunity to learn from Mr. Furry’s 92 years of wisdom and experience. He shared stories about his professional and personal experiences in vocational agriculture. The experiences he shared, exemplified the battle it was to include vocational agriculture in the high school. Mr. Furry spoke how The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917 created a window of opportunity for many rural areas, yet many were hesitatant to adopt in their educational system. “In the 1920’s education was academic, and vocational education was thought to have no place in academia. To get where we are today was not easy. Our place in education had to be gained through trust and relationships that would continue in the future,” Mr. Furry shared.  

As a high school vocational agriculture teacher, Mr. Furry made it a goal to gain a trusting relationship with students and parents to help continue support for the program. These relationships were fostered through project visits. Mr. Furry claimed project visits were the greatest part of his life because he was able to gain a connection beyond the walls of the classroom and become a trusted partner in the community. Mr. Furry continued to share many great stories of how he built on the past to help create a brighter future for vocational agricultural education. He has truly impacted his high school’s education and local community. 
Penn State TeachAg Avenger, Victoria Herr with Mr. Ted Furry

The two hours spent with Mr. Furry seemed too short to truly hear all his wisdom, but students were able to take away some keys points:
  • Agricultural educators are stakeholders in the community
  • Visits for SAE projects build relationships with students, family, and community
  • Agriculture education has withstood the test of time and continues to elevate

Dr. Foster, Associate Professor in Agricultural and Extension Education, hoped students gained new insight of the important role of vocational education in the past to the present. He stated, “We are standing on the shoulders of giants as we appreciate where we come from as we go to new generations.” 

Penn State students, faculty and staff would like to thank Mr. Furry for lending his time to provide our students the opportunity to discover and gain understanding about the role of vocational education, past and present. Mr. Furry's wisdom has instilled many valuable lessons students can use throughout their future in agriculture education.

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 TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog.

Halee Wasson

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @wasson_halee

2018 Agriculture Education Student Teacher

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