Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Program Awards


Most careers in modern agriculture and related sciences require education beyond secondary school. Outstanding agriscience and agribusiness educational programs beyond the high school level of instruction are more important today than ever before.

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Region I
Cosumnes River College
Sacramento, CA
Instructors: Howard Lewis, Dave Andrews and Dr. Chris Impinna

The Cosumnes River College agriculture program has been very successful over the years.  Being the only college in the Sacramento area to offer agriculture classes, the school attracts students wanting to major in anything from veterinary technology to landscape design and maintenance.  The department has seen many students complete degree programs and then start their own businesses or receive quick job placement.  Lewis, Andrews and Impinna have worked with their curriculum to make it attractive to a wide range of students.  Teaching classes in the community, in the evening, and on-line gives students a variety of options to access the classes in which they are interested.

Along with their success in the classroom, Cosumnes River College students and instructors have been very involved with promoting the program throughout the area.  Throughout the year, the professors visit ten high schools in the region to judge and host FFA career development events.  They also serve on high school agriculture advisory committees and provide leadership at California Agriculture Teachers' Association (CATA) activities.  They have also been able to successfully market their program by partnering with their students to create and annual FFA field day, beginning in 2004.  Their students do all of the work for the event, which teaches them the importance of time management and planning.  The school also has a group of active agricultural ambassadors who are continually marketing the program through recruitment activities, fundraisers and educational displays. 

"Agriculture is a billion dollar industry within the Sacramento region.  The national and international interests and local and regional agricultural history has created a dynamic and diverse agricultural community here," said Lewis.  "The Cosumnes River College agriculture program prepares students to meet the growing need for qualified personnel in the agriculture and horticulture industry."

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Region II
Caddo Kiowa Technology Center
Fort Cobb, OK
Instructors: Keith Brownback and Dale Beerwinkle

Keith Brownback and Dale Beerwinkle strive to offer a quality postsecondary/adult program that offers solutions relative to the Oklahoma agriculture industry.  The school's agriculture business management program focuses on enabling cooperating farm families to improve their skills in financial and economic planning, marketing, farm finance, and recordkeeping. Additional instructional emphasis is devoted to developing skills for families to add supporting non-farm or non-traditional agriculture enterprises and general rural economic development.  The instructors stand by the philosophy that adult education must be personalized. Because of varied educational and life experiences, individual instructor-student sessions are very important to the adult learning experience.

CKTC, which also won the OPAP award in 2003, has continued to offer very timely content.  One example of that is the crop care professional program, developed by the two teachers.  Students in the program participate in field trials and tours, getting hands-on experience with the advanced technology used in many agriculture enterprises.  Students in the agricultural businesses management program are exposed to FSA borrower training classes and financial record keeping.

"Together Keith and Dale have developed a program that is not equaled by any around the state. They are both to be commended for developing a program that is, without a doubt, some of the best cutting-edge education that our profession has to offer," said Kurt Marry, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technical Education program specialist.

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Region III
Fox Valley Technical College
Appleton, WI

Instructors: Randy Tenpas, Dale Drees, Kevin Rauchholz and Jerry Fischer

The Fox Valley Technical College program, advised by Dale Drees, Randy Tenpas, Kevin Rauchholz and Jerry Fischer, has seen amazing increase in students over the past sixteen years.  In 1992, enrollment was only about 22 students, and three programs were offered.  Today the school offers a wide array of courses, encompassed in eight programs, to more than 160 students each year.  Courses range from animal science and agronomy to mechanics.  The instructors believe that it is important to "treat students as adults, give them respect, set high goals and demand results," said Dale Drees, FVTC instructor.  Classes are taught using a variety of methods to make learning exciting for all students.

In 2005, the school incorporated a new program created by Drees, called Outdoor Power Equipment.  The program offered courses in maintenance of gas and diesel engines, OPE electrical systems, hydraulics, and more.  While taking classes, students are encouraged to work in an area that allows them to use the concepts being learned, such as running a lawn mowing company. 
Students in the program have won several awards over the years under the leadership of Drees, Tenpas, Rauchholz and Fischer and FVTC was the recipient of Wisconsin's 1997 Post Secondary All-Star Team award. 

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Region IV
Shakamak High School\
Jasonvillle, IN
Instructor: Kenna Slough

Throughout her eleven years of teaching, Kenna Slough has held to the philosophy that education should be a lifelong learning process.  In 2001, she really took this concept to heart when she began the adult program, West Central Young Farmers, at Shakamak high school.  Slough believes that everyone can learn as long as they find the subject interesting.The program draws in adults from surrounding counties who are involved in production agriculture, agribusiness, education and transportation of agricultural products.  The West Central Young Farmers encompass a variety of programs, from first aid and CPR training to small engine repair and maintenance.  Slough also offers programs that can be transferred for college credit at a local university.

West Central Young Farmers have been very active in the high school and community through experiential learning and special events.  The high school and adult students work together to host a community Ag Day designed to educate the community about various agriculture issues, from safety to production.  The young farmers have been very active in attending state and national young farmers conferences annually.  Program participants also host a lunch program for high school juniors and seniors.  At the lunch, adult students talk about the adult program and the activities with which they have been involved.  The West Central Young Farmers program is putting the concept of lifelong learning into action through community service and a variety of lessons under the leadership of Slough.

  "Mrs. Slough is looked at as a role model and leader in both her community and state-wide," says Vanessa Hodge, Shakamak High School Principal.  "She continuously brings opportunities to our students through agricultural experiences with her leadership skills."

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Region V
Anderson 1 & 2 Career Technology Center, SC
Williamston, SC
Instructors: Steve McGaha and Audie Green

The adult program at Anderson 1 & 2 is the basis for the Williamston Young Farmer and Agribusiness Association.  It is an opportunity for graduates, community members, and businesses to participate in post-secondary education activities.  The program's goal is to give professionals the knowledge and skills they need to stay up to date with new business developments.  There are a wide variety of courses taught, and an even wider variety of occupations represented in the program.  The instructors coordinate the adult program to meet after school during the week and even on some weekends.  They are also working on starting an annual Young Farmers and Agribusiness tour in 2010 so students can see examples of agriculture at local farms and industries.

McGaha says that although the pay does not seem to match the long hours worked and the weekends missed, teaching is worthwhile because you get paid by the satisfaction of seeing students devoting their time and energy to learning and continuing their education.  Along with the courses, the department also offers a variety of workshops and seminars to adult students.

The adult program has also become an essential part of the local high school agriculture program.  These adults give students opportunities to become involved in a supervised agricultural experience program through internships, service learning projects, job shadowing and cooperative learning activities.  Partners in the community assist by facilitating many of the workshops that are offered to the adults, providing tours and funding, and assisting with special events.  Anderson 1 & 2 has done a great job making lifelong learning plausible for the adult business members of the local agriculture community.

  "Instructors Steve McGaha and Audie Green are instrumental in providing vital service to members of our outlying communities," said Hollie Harrell, Anderson Tech Center Assistant Director.  "They offer a variety of workshops, seminars, tours, and lectures to their members."

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Region VI
Liberty High School
Bedford, VA
Instructor: Gary Thomas

Throughout his 33 years of teaching agricultural education, and his years of conducting Young Farmer programs, Thomas' teaching philosophy has remained the same — doing to learn.

Thomas' students at Liberty are very involved in the state Young Farmer association, with one state officer and three state award winners.  The program meets two nights a week from September to March.  During these months, the group of 22 students goes on tours to local businesses, attends various association meetings in the county, and listens to guest speakers.  Students are also given the opportunity to use the shop at night to repair farm equipment.  The program also incorporates individualized instruction, with the Young Farmer advisor meeting with participants at their farms and businesses to give them advice. 

"Anytime there is the need, their Young Farmer advisor meets the call," said Thomas.

In 1991, Thomas became the first agriculture teacher in Virginia to raise catfish in his shop after getting the idea from attending the NAAE Regional Leadership Conference in New Jersey.  Over the years, Thomas has received several grants to help continue funding for his aquaculture program.  The Liberty Young Farmers have developed several different partnerships throughout the area as well.  The program is marketed through ads in the newspaper and visits to farms and agribusinesses in the area.  "The members," said Thomas, "are really the key to the success of our program here at Liberty."

"Not only has Mr. Thomas demonstrated a commitment to nurture young, aspiring agriculturalists who enter his classroom, he has continued to help them succeed in their agricultural pursuits after high school," said Brian Alexander, president of the Virginia Association of Agricultural Educators.  "Mr. Thomas plays a major role in providing support and resources to potential and beginning farmers."

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