“Our students can take part in career development events and contests. They can win prizes and recognition for their efforts. Basically, they learn everything they need to be successful— math and science, business skills, leadership—no matter what path they take after high school.”
“We have some great facilities here,” says Watkins. We’ve got about 11 acres that students help maintain. They can learn landscaping and plant science in our greenhouses. They can raise and manage livestock in our holding pens and weaning facilities. They can even raise fish in our aquaculture lab – we can house about 20,000 fish – and have had great success with raising and selling tilapia.”
Anna Wilkinson teaching students how to feed cattle.
Minyard points to the amount of time teachers, employers, and parents spend helping students become successful. “We teach in 90-minute blocks, and students participate in a Supervised Agriculture Experience Program (SAEP) that might be a schoolbased project or a part-time job. They can get very creative. One of my students started her own show pig operation and built it from the ground up. It’s wonderful to see these young people develop and grow.”
All the instructors agree that the hands-on, practical experience—in combination with focused classroom work—can turn their students into the innovators, entrepreneurs, and good citizens