Monday, May 1, 2017

How does Agricultural Education Benefit Students?

One of the biggest questions that seems to come up is what are the benefits to agricultural education in high schools. Often times we respond with the opportunities that students have within the classroom as well as outside the classroom with the National FFA Organization. However, if you want to find out the real benefits you must go to the source of the question. Asking, a current student enrolled in an agricultural education classroom, a current college student who was enrolled during their years in high school, and a past student that is currently working in the industry, what are the benefits of the agricultural education program in high schools is where you will find the best answer. Featured in this blog is exactly that situation.

Mariah Stuck is a current student enrolled in agricultural education at Midd-West High School, and her response shows the meaning to why agriculture education is so important. When she began high school she though that agricultural education for her would be a one year, one class situation, and never stepping back into the classroom again. However, she felt welcomed into the classroom and into the program where she later found her true passion in that classroom. She stated, "Agriculture education programs provide a sense of identity to those students who find themselves loving FFA and everything their school ag program has to offer them. Ag ed programs around the nation are providing real life situations that provide life lessons and so much more for students throughout high school. Agriculture education has taught me how important it is for me to tell my story and pursue my dreams." She currently is a junior at Midd-West High School, and was recently elected to Midd-West FFA Chapter President for this next year. Her story in agricultural education has proved the benefits of this amazing program is worth the time and energy. When she talked about the lessons that she has learned through the program her words were indescribable, "If I had to pick the most important life lesson I have learned from agriculture over the past three years it would be," she explained, "you can never be to prepared, be a sponge, soak up your surroundings everywhere you venture to, and never stop learning."

Lily Guthrie is a current college student studying at Conner's State University in Oklahoma. Her outlook on agricultural education in high schools also has a positive effect on students. She believes that agriculture education is vital to students across the county because agriculture is how we live each day. Lily spoke from the heart when she said,  "From my experience within the West Perry FFA Chapter, I can quite confidently say the agricultural education program there changed my life in more ways than I can even comprehend. From walking into the ag classroom on the first day as a shy, timid freshman, afraid to speak out, looking for a place to fit in to leaving as a confident, well prepared advocate for the industry in which I fell in love with there has been hundreds of positive impacts on my life as a result of my experience within my hometown FFA program." She had served as Pennsylvania FFA State President in 2015-2016, and her journey through the program as well as a state officer has benefited her for her future endeavors. "Across the nation, from our largest cities to the smallest rural communities it is equally imperative to inform each and every student. Thousands of careers are available within agriculture and whether an individual prefers a hands on work environment or more lab related duties, they can surely find it all," she had explained.


Caleb Wright is currently working in the industry as a lobbyist for Versant Strategies, but before he was an agriculture educator. His idea and vision of agricultural education in high school is what you would expect from a previous educator of the program. "While the optimist in me wants to believe that every student to walk into an ag classroom will directly work in the agricultural/environmental industries, that isn’t the case based on statistical data. But agriculture education, with a fully implemented three-pronged approach of classroom/laboratory instruction, experiential learning, and leadership development is a shining star of how a school system can prepare students to be successful post-graduation." His response displays the crucial evidence that agriculture education is by far offers the best opportunities and structured classroom for a student to be in. "When we expose students to opportunities that challenge them, and ones that are diverse and incorporate a different set of skills, we teach students how to operate in a dynamic work place." Mr. Wright's idea of agricultural education proves value to all students that enter the classroom.



These three responses of a current student, current college student who was previously in the program, and an industry worker that went through the program provide great examples of how agricultural education benefits students not only in high school but also their futures. Agricultural education provides real life situations, lessons learned, and values that can not be taught by any other class in a high school. 


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 teachag@psu.edu. Follow us on Twitter at TeachAgPSU, on Facebook, or on our blog.




Luke Kerstetter

Student Blogger

Twitter Handle: @lmkerstetter96

2020 Agricultural Education Student Teacher

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