Young members of any organization are the seeds from which the organization grows. Without recruitment and new members, an organization would soon be phased out. One way that the NAAE recognizes new young members is to award them on their successes in the classroom. Each regional winner of this award received a plaque and a cash award to attend the annual conference in Kansas City. John Deere sponsored this award.
Uintah High School
Tri-County Middle/High School
Greenwood High School
Union County High School
Lake Butler, Florida
| Region III
Gackle-Streeter Public School
Gackle, North Dakota
Strasburg High School
Under the leadership and direction of Wilson, the agricultural instructor, at Uintah High School, the agricultural program has expanded from 80 students enrolled in agricultural classes to more than 180 students. Wilson has directed the focus of the agricultural program from production-based agriculture to science-based horticulture, natural resources and agricultural biology.
During his second year as the agricultural teacher, Wilson applied for and acquired carry over funds from the district to build a computer laboratory, laboratory room and aquaculture room. By completing a state grant and by pursuing funds from the school district, Wilson also recently constructed a school greenhouse to provide his students with hands-on opportunities to learn.
"I believe that for students to learn successfully, they should be taught with high expectations," said Wilson. "Students need to see that hard work, dedication and extra effort will bring success."
Finding your true calling in life is often difficult for people to do. However, for Joseph Ham, the agricultural instructor at Greenwood High School in Arizona, teaching is more than a job; it is a passion. Ham believes that every student that walks through the door is in need of attention and affirmation. He strives to build up their self-esteem through successes in the classroom, laboratory and FFA.
The Greenwood FFA includes many social activities and FFA competitions in its program of activities. The chapter hosts an end of the year trip for the top 20 most active members. Past trips have included destinations, such as Six Flags Over Texas, white water rafting in Missouri or rock climbing in Okalahoma.
Ham also works to develop himself professionally by serving on the Partners in Education, Failure is Not an Option and Sebastian County Fair Committees. He has attended a diverse selection of workshops and training.
As a former agricultural student and FFA member, JoDee Free was hired to serve as the agricultural instructor for Gackle-Streeter Public School in North Dakota to take her enthusiasm for agriculture education and FFA to the next level. Free's educational philosophy is guided by the following, "There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of them is wings and the other is roots." Free attempts to instill upon students the belief that they can take their lives in any direction while at the same time emphasizing the need to have a firm understanding of the basic concepts of life.
Furthermore, Free has adapted to many changing conditions throughout her teaching career in order to accommodate the needs of her students. One such change was to rotate class offerings. Another was to separate introductory students from advanced students.
Free's professional endeavors include serving as the District 6 Vice President as well as Chairman of the State FFA Advisory Council. Free also serves as the President and Head Negotiator of the Gackle-Streeter Education Association.
Grace Anderson, the agricultural instructor at Tri-County Middle/Senior High School in Wolcott, Indiana, is an advocate for the success of every student she comes in contact with from the valedictorian to an at-risk student. Anderson has made significant improvements to the curriculum, among the many lesson activities, students work with taxidermists, complete a hunter's education workshop, plant prairie grass and maintain a bee colony. With a personal and caring demeanor, Anderson gives special attention to working with students with learning difficulties.
The FFA chapter also developed a memory garden dedicated to students who have lost their lives as well as landscaped the school. As a result of the increased interest in horticulture, an additional greenhouse had to be added. Tri-County FFA boosts a series of remarkable accomplishments including being recognized in all areas of the Model of Innovation Program as well as being named a three-star chapter. The chapter participated in the inaugural Indiana Agricultural Leadership Academy, which consisted of seminars on agriculture and government as well as a ten-day foreign travel segment. Anderson also partnered with Purdue University to develop wheel chair access for the show arena at county fairgrounds.
A graduate of Union County High School in Florida, David Harris returned home to teach. With a lifelong commitment to education, Harris strives to educate the entire student. Harris believes that education goes beyond the scope of sharing mere knowledge and information in the classroom.
A former football coach, Harris now coaches various FFA Career Development Event (CDE) teams. Despite the fact that Union County is the smallest county in Florida, Lake Butler FFA is a perennial powerhouse in state and national FFA programs.
Harris' professional accomplishments include being Nationally Board Certified and Teacher of the Year. Harris also employs various teaching strategies acquired from workshops focused on Project Learning Tree, Teaching with Multiple Intelligences, Brain Research and Energy Bridges. Harris serves on the local Board of Directors of Farm Bureau and hosts college education interns.
Kate Hawkins, the agricultural instructor at Strasburg High School in Virginia, strives to develop well-rounded individuals who are capable of critical thinking and succeeding in the real world. In order to accomplish this, she strives to offer an innovative and varied curriculum. Students have had the opportunity to listen to loan officers, lawyers, small business owners and farmers share about their profession. Additionally, Hawkins is on the forefront of integrating educational technology in the classroom.
Hawkins also instills a sense of civil conscience in the classroom. The students initiated a paper-recycling program at the high school that has expanded to include the elementary school. Over three tons of paper has been recycled so far. All the money that is raised from recycling is donated to a local charity. Hawkins' leadership class also organizes an annual Red Cross Blood Drive.
Hawkins' professional accomplishments include being a previous recipient of the NAAE Teachers Turn The Key Award. Hawkins also helped secure a USDA Challenge Grant and attended numerous workshops, industry tours and conferences.