Outstanding Young Member Awards

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.

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Region I
Danell Blair
Molalla High School
Canby, Oregon

"I will be a factor in the development of my students' sense of purpose, self worth and discovery of goodness in themselves," expressed Blair. Through agriculture, she teaches her students the power to reason, to process problems and social skills, and develop technical skills and knowledge. Since July 2000, Blair has exemplified many positive attributes that have made her a great teacher and respected leader at Molalla High School and in her profession.

Blair's lessons reflect curriculum that incorporates relevant hands-on learning. By utilizing the Molalla River Natural Resource Center, her students are exposed to greenhouse operations, orchard production, landscaping opportunities, forage crops, and horse, sheep, and swine care. Recognizing the need for an Equine Science curriculum, Blair, with the community's support, created instructional lessons in equine science and ensured the production of a horse facility.

Blair's professional growth as an agricultural educator is ongoing. She is a member of the American Quarter Horse Association, Oregon Grange, Molalla River Education Association Oregon Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association, and the National Education Association.

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Region II
Kevin Barenburg
Lincoln High School
Cane Hill, Arkansas

Barenberg tells his students, "I have one main goal and that is to help you become better people from the time you enter the program until the time you leave." For the past six years as the agricultural education teacher at Lincoln High School, Barenberg has encouraged moral, ethical and value driven instruction. He has successfully designed a program, which meets the diverse needs of his students and the community.

By expanding and developing partnerships with the community, Barenberg has been able to increase learning opportunities for his students. It is because of a strong alumni and community support that Barenberg has been able to manage his task as a teacher, advisor and an active member of many professional organizations.

Barenberg is an exciting young teacher who really cares about his students. Barenberg expressed, "I believe that students don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Through engaging, hands-on learning and gearing lessons towards students' interest, Barenberg has discovered the key to being an effective teacher.

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Region III
Gace Roberts
Dodgeland Agricultural Program
Juneau, Wisconsin

Since the fall of 1999, Roberts has transformed the Dodgeland Agricultural Program into an educationally sound and respected department. "Her leadership ability and rapport with our students was instrumental in rebuilding our Ag program as well as our FFA chapter," stated Jeff Caine of Caine Warehousing LTD.

Roberts strives to meet the individual student's needs by providing hands-on learning activities that are related to life. Programs that she has initiated are Horse Science, Horticulture, Small and Large Animals, Landscaping, and an Agriculture Cooperative work program. Roberts presents her students with opportunities to become gardeners, authors, chefs, and leaders in the classroom and community.

As a dedicated and professional agricultural educator, Roberts continues her learning by remaining active in her community and professional organizations. She is a member of the National At-risk Education Network, Dodgeland Education Association, Winnebago Uniserve, and Wisconsin Education Association Council. Roberts has served on various committees and is currently helping with the Turn Around Program (TAP) for high school students.

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Region IV
Marie Carity
Casstown High School
Minster, Ohio

In an agriculturally based community with deep roots in grain and hog production, Carity has developed a course study to meet the needs of the students in the Miami East community. "I use a variety of teaching instructions because learning is very student-centered in my classroom, with many opportunities to apply hands-on learning," said Carity. Because of her outstanding program and commitment to her students Carity was recognized with two awards at the NAAE conference.

As an agricultural education teacher and a FFA advisor, Carity does an excellent job in motivating her students. In the five years that Carity has been teaching her program has been in the top 20 chapters in Ohio. Every year Carity's students receive recognition, honors and awards at the national level. In addition to competing, Carity's students rise to service. Her students have completed numerous community service projects such as Can Food Drives, Adopt a Family, and Food For America over the years. Carity believes that, "The most important part of being a teacher is instilling into my students the lifetime skills of responsibility, leadership, communication and cooperation."

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Region V
Erin Johnson
Pine Ridge High School
Deltona, Florida

A"My philosophy is to foster an environment, where students create memories by being actively involved in their agricultural education," stated Johnson. As part of the two-teacher agricultural education program at Pine Ridge High School, it is Erin Johnson's responsibility to educate her students about the changing field of agriculture. In the past five years Johnson has successfully designed a program that now caters to the diverse needs of over 180 students. She has successfully done this by developing curriculum for courses such as introductory agriculture, agricultural technology and horticulture.

In addition, Pine Ridge offers the Agriscience Technology and Communications Academy, which encompasses courses in Agriculture, English, History and Technology. The Academy operates as a school with in a school and serves approximately 60 students.

Johnson expressed, "I want my students to remember a teacher who was passionate about agriculture and taught them to appreciate, respect and understand agriculture." Johnson hopes to instill this passion by offering her students a program that encourages learning through hands-on activities and promotes developing partnerships with the community in order to increase learning opportunities.

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Region VI
James Beatty
Elkins High School
Elkins, West Virginia

Over the past three years James Beatty has taken the Elkins High School agricultural education program and turned it into a rising, striving program. "My philosophy is very simple, all students that come into my classroom are given an equal chance to learn the skills and competencies necessary to be successful in the field of agriculture," commented Beatty. By offering a variety of courses and through hands-on instruction, Beatty is able to cater to the vast variety of his students needs.

Beatty believes, "All students have a right to equal opportunity and education while in the high school classroom." When students enroll in Beatty's courses they are given the option to choose their program. They can choose a career pathway in the areas of general agriculture, animal and veterinary science or forestry and natural resources, which happens to be the most popular.

By fostering partnerships with businesses such as Wal-Mart, members of the Board of Education and the rest of the community, Beatty has gained many invaluable resources. As Beatty stated, "An agriculture education program cannot survive without successful partnerships with business and community members alike."

When students enter Beatty's program they are given a choice to pursue their own path.

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