Outstanding Middle/Secondary Program Awards


Sensational. This is the best way to describe this year’s NAAE Outstanding Middle/Secondary School Agriculture Education Programs.

The NAAE Awards these programs for their overall success, growth, and motivation. Case IH sponsored the outstanding Middle/Secondary Program Awards.

Region I
Elko High School
Elko, Nevada
Region IV
Lowell High School
Lowell, Michigan
Region II
Amber-Pocasset High School
Amber, Oklahoma
Region V
Franklin County High School
Carnesville, Georgia
Region III
McCook High School
Salem, South Dakota
Region VI
Linganore High School
Frederick, Maryland

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Region I
The Region I winner was Elko High School in Elko, Nevada. The teachers are Jim Cooney, Shane Sutton, and Jared Hyatt.

Located in the northeastern corner of Nevada, the Elko High School Agricultural Education Program has grown rapidly since its beginning in 1944. Back then, the program had only one instructor; now it has three instructors and over 263 students, all of which are members of the FFA. The program's growth and success is due to the teachers' philosophy: "All students need leadership and personal growth skills in order to have successful careers." And indeed, the results are evident in their students. Approximately 88 percent of the students enrolled in this program pursue higher education.

In this program students learn the basics of landscaping, gardening, welding, sales, marketing, and mining to help them prepare for postsecondary education or careers. Hands-on activities are incorporated into most of the lessons. For Christmas, the students raise and sell over 2,000 poinsettias, which serves as an instructional device and a fundraiser.

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Region II
The Region II winner was Amber-Pocasset High School in Amber Oklahoma. The teacher is Billy Shane Scott.

Who says that high school students are not motivated to come to school? Billy Shane Scott believes that students learn most when they are motivated. To ensure this environment, he keeps a positive classroom and encourages the students to make their education more real-life by completing a supervised agricultural experience (SAE) project. This program offer classes that are production agriculture orientated combined with economic principles and communication skills, all of which give the students a well-rounded education. Billy Shane Scott, the program's 27-year instructor, encourages the students to apply and utilize the lessons they learn in the classroom and their activities to prepare them for a career. Some of these activities are competing in livestock, public speaking, and parliamentary procedure contests. In addition, this agriculture program offers the juniors and seniors a chance to participate in a commodity challenge contest, which allows them to use the terms covered in class and apply them to real-life.

This program also is up-to-date with technology offering its students the chance to use laptop computers, LCD projectors, and the Ibid board. These tools help the students to explore the Internet and learn how to build quality presentations.

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Region III
The Region III winner was McCook High School in Salem, South Dakota. The teacher is Terry Reickman.

"Proud Pasts - Bold Beginnings" is the motto that McCook Central High School has adopted. Though Salem is having a decline in population, both in people and in businesses, the agriculture program is continuing to grow and expand. Currently, 50 percent of the students are enrolled in agriculture classes; 38 percent of them are female.

"We offer what you want or need." This is the philosophy that Rieckman abides by in the classroom. The classes offered range from ag communications to hands-on ag mechanics. Using the information learned in class, all agriculture students have a supervised agriculture experience (SAE) program. In 2001, the students brought home $122,634 in placement SAEs, $267,917 in entrepreneurship SAEs, and completed 600 hours of laboratory SAEs.

The McCook High School Agriculture Program is a phenomenal program to look up to. Their success is due in part to the support from the school and local businesses. However, much of the credit goes to the agricultural education teacher, Terry Rieckman.

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Region IV
The Region IV winner was Lowell High School in Lowell, Michigan. The teachers are John Schut and Tammy DeBaar.

Creating opportunities for all students is a key principle for John Schut and Terry DeBaar. Their primary focus as educators is empowering young people to achieve and become productive members of their community. Since last year, they have nearly doubled their enrollment to an amazing 210 students.

Students in the Lowell FFA Chapter participate in many projects including adopt-a-stream, adopt-a-road, and adopt-a-family projects, along with partnering with PALS and many other projects. In order to fund and support these programs, the FFA Alumni Association and the local agriculture community help with money, volunteers, and places for students to complete their supervised agriculture experience projects.

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Region V
The Region V winner was Franklin County High School in Carnesville, Georgia. The teachers are Wayne Randall, Gary Minyard, Owen Thomason, and Cale Watkins.

"Quality since 1918." That should be the motto for the Franklin County High School Agricultural Education Program. From the time this program was established, it has had 100 percent membership in the FFA and all students have supervised agricultural experience projects. Their success is due in part to the support from the state of Georgia, which provided a $100,000 grant to help implement the Agri-Science Curriculum and from the Young Farmers Chapter, which donates $12,000 to the agriculture program annually.

If superior classes are what you are looking for, the Franklin County ag program is the place to be. It provides eight full semester unit courses including animal science, horticulture, agricultural mechanics, and environmental science.

The Franklin County agricultural education teachers stated: "Agriculture is a dynamic, rapidly changing industry that has an exciting future." They keep this statement in mind in when conducting their hands-on classes.

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Region VI
The Region VI winner was Linganore High School in Frederick, Maryland. The teachers are Tom Hawthorne and Pat Beachy.

The statement that agriculture is an ever-changing industry has shown true at Linganore High School. This school was once mainly production agriculture based, but now with urban growth, the more traditional forms of agriculture are phasing out. Thankfully, the agriculture program at Linganore rolls with the times. The teachers have geared their classes toward the changing community. Now, out of the 500 students enrolled in agriculture, only three are from production farms.

The Linganore High School Agriculture Program offers numerous classes in biotechnology, agri-science, engine and power technology, and horticulture. Hands-on activities are definitely the mode of instruction for these classes. The horticulture students take home projects each week, one of which consists of a flower arrangement that symbolizes a novel or short story. These projects integrate all forms of education, art, language arts, English, and science.

The agriculture teachers at Linganore believe that "Success Breeds Success." They state that if students enjoy what they are doing they will continue their work and encourage others to do so too.

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