Wellsboro High School Agri-Science Program Inspires Local Student
Rita Champaign is a perfect example of a non-traditional agriculture student that has benefited greatly and maximized her opportunities in high school through participation in agricultural education courses and the FFA. Rita began FFA her 9th grade year in 2018 in Intro to Ag. Her first notable experience in FFA was the ACES leadership conference during her freshman year. Rita recalls being amazed by how much FFA began to feel like a family and she noticed a change in herself as she started to set goals to compete in events and be involved in leadership components of the chapter. Rita was drawn to the leadership development events that members can participate in FFA including the Conduct of Chapter Meetings event, public speaking, and the agricultural issues forum. Rita’s favorite FFA activity was the National Convention where she competed in Ag Issues and got Silver with her team. Her other favorite activity is Conduct of Chapter meetings that she competed in in June 2019 at the state level and got second place with her team. Rita plans on pursuing a degree in Psychology or criminal justice and appreciates how her leadership, teamwork, and speaking skills have developed through her FFA participation and how those skills will benefit her in her future career. She is glad to have advanced her leadership skills including public speaking and community service skills and recommends that any member or student in agriculture classes do the same to benefit themselves in their future.
The agricultural sciences lab continues to be a bright spot for students to engage and develop real world skills even with the COVID challenges around education. The animals in the agricultural sciences lab allow students to practice real world skills and gain experience handling different species. Students are able to take vital signs, groom animals, provide them with proper nutrition, monitor their health, and learn about animal reproduction. These opportunities benefit students especially when there are limited field trip opportunities because of COVID. It is also a great experience for students both with and without prior agricultural experiences to get a look at how specific agricultural practices are completed so that they have a better understanding of how agriculture works and they are a more informed consumer.
One project that is a highlight of students in animal science classes and around the agriculture program is the pig in the classroom project. In October a young female pig called a gilt was brought to the agriculture room for a week so that it could be artificially bred. Animal science classes learned about that process and how swine reproduction works. The gilt was brought back to the farm for the winter while she was pregnant, and she will return to the classroom in February, prior to giving birth. Students will again be able to monitor the reproduction process, oversee the birthing process and monitor the piglets. Both agricultural science students, other students in the school will be able to learn more about this process. Other students in the district will be able to view the process through a live stream video.
As you can see, there are opportunities abound in the agricultural sciences classroom for both traditional and non-traditional students to learn about agriculture and develop leadership skills that will help them pursue future careers and post secondary education. If you have any questions about the agriscience program at Wellsboro High School, e mail Melanie Berndtson at firstname.lastname@example.org.