Katherine Hofmann final author in 2016-2017 MLHS senior student editorial series
Preparing for the Future
Dressed in cap and gown, about to accept their diplomas, seniors are finally ready to graduate and take on the real world. However, students are graduating from high school every year without common everyday knowledge of skills like how to change the oil in a car, identify the anatomy of animals, and cook a simple meal. Agricultural education provides kids with real-life, experiential education through hands-on learning, vocational training, and FFA.
One important aspect of hands-on learning is that it allows students to engage in visual and tactical learning instead of simply sitting in a classroom taking notes. In the core classes of math, English, science, and history, students learn to calculate numbers, read directions, analyze situations, and work independently, but they do not learn to apply that to real-life situations. In the woodshop students use math to measure wood and calculate measurements to determine a project’s scale, and building a product from those numbers provides hands-on learning and real-life experience. For dissections in a veterinary science class, students need a basic knowledge of anatomy and various sciences pertaining to the human body. Since very few home economics teachers are available, cooking has been added to agriculture classes. Students need to learn how to cook so that they can learn to prepare healthy, inexpensive meals instead of eating out at a higher cost or at unhealthy fast food restaurants. All of these classes provide hands-on learning–whether it be making a wooden table, dissecting a frog, or cooking bacon.
Another importance of agricultural education is vocational training, which helps students prepare for careers. According to my in-school survey, nine out of ten students feel that they are more prepared for their future careers and decisions because of their agricultural classes. Granted, a majority of the students in the Mountain Lake Public School have some sort of agricultural-based background, but not all of the vocational training steers the students in the direction of agriculture, which is alright! While some students may go to school to be an agriculture teacher, a veterinarian, or farm manager, others may go to school for law or medicine. From Agricultural Leadership, Personal Finance, and World Foods to Advanced Horticulture and Veterinary Science, agricultural education provides the proper vocational training for many future careers.
Additionally, agricultural education ties into FFA, which not only gets students involved in a school activity, but also helps them through CDEs, SAEs, and the agricultural classes listed above. Career Development Events (CDEs) are contests in which FFA members compete to test various skills they have learned in their specific event through tests on facts and statistics and a judging portion. FFA not only prepares students for their futures, but also aides them in their present jobs through SAEs (Supervised Agricultural Experiences) that help students develop a strong work ethic and learn hands-on concepts that they can apply as they transition into college and in their future careers.
In conclusion, agricultural education is important and provides students with basic knowledge of changing a car’s oil or cooking a meal for their everyday lives. From dissecting a frog to analyzing specific personal situations, students prepare for their future careers with the help of agricultural education and the core classes.