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Home Sweet Home

Posted by Tiffany Morey Oct 20, 2015

Last spring, it was announced that the ag classroom would be undergoing a full renovation to make it more ideal for teaching the current course offerings. The classroom hadn't been changed since the school was built back in the 1950s and was still set up for a program specializing in landscaping and ag mechanics/farm machinery maintenance. It was comprised of a large shop area and small classroom outfitted with a random assortment of furniture and equipment that had been recycled from other classrooms.

 

Over the years the maintenance department had taken over much of the shop area to use for storage of supplies and broken furniture, and it was very cluttered and crammed. On occasion, it was also used to store vehicles and it wasn't uncommon to come in in the morning to find John Deere Gators, golf carts, tractors, and even mini vans parked in the middle of my classroom. These vehicular surprises led us to lovingly nickname the room "the ag garage" and led the school to refer to it simply as the ag shop. Thanks to a wonderfully committed administrative team who truly believes in the benefits of agricultural education, and a generous grant from a local donor, the classroom has been completely transformed from the ag shop into the ag classroom. We even have a sign for the door to signify the transformation.

 

However, the move into the new room wasn't without it's share of complications. Renovations were supposed to be completed by August 1st to allow for a month to install the furniture, get the CO, and give me a chance to unpack and move. In a perfect world, this would have allowed for us to start school in our brand new room. The world is not perfect, and the room wasn't even close to being done until the end of September. After several crazy and difficult weeks without a classroom, desk, or computer and having to teach CASE/ag on a cart in a variety of different classrooms, we finally moved in at the beginning of October. The new facility is everything we could have wanted and then some. The students love their new home and having everything they need to learn in a space where they have lots of freedom and flexibility. They were also given a rabbit for a classroom pet from a local family as a "housewarming" present. Gus has quickly become a fabulous addition to our classroom and the students love taking care of him and snuggling with him.  As for me, I am thrilled to finally have a classroom that is outfitted for CASE and not for storing mini vans!


Food Science and Safety students utilizing their new lab facilities

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The view of the new classroom

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The newest member of the classroom-Gus the rabbit!

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Have fun at National Convention to all those who are attending!

 

-TM

NATIONAL CONVENTION TIME!

 

What?  Were you thinking Christmas??

 

As I work through the late night of Conferences, I have been reminiscing on National Convention Trips of the past.  Indulge me.

 

National Convention

1999-2003 -- PRE-digital cameras,

phones and selfies.

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2004

Not my first group, but my first at Southeast Polk.  A great group to travel and learn with.

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2005

Somehow they talked me into stopping at White Castle. Great kids, but the food wasn't up to their level.

I still don't understand Herold and Kumar's rush to get to this place.

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2006

I should have seen this selfie thing

coming a long way off.

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2007

It's the ties that bind us.

Kids always love seeing the National Officer do the Opening Ceremonies -- and saying their part along with them.

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2008

The first and only year (to date) I have missed National Convention and it was to stay home with my sick family. It was surreal to see the bus pull away that morning and not be on it.

I learned a couple things though:

 

1. Sub Plans are made to be used. :-)

 

2. The benefits to a bus trip with multiple chapters are underrated until mayhem rears its ugly head.

 

3. The parent/teacher who went in my place still describes it as one of the best educational experiences he has had in his career.

It left an indelible mark with him.

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2009

When you are 850 miles from home, you make new discoveries.

FFAmily

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2011

The first American Degree since the inception of Southeast Polk in 1964 - and incidentally the first Star over America.

I look forward to the big things that Vivian will accomplish.

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2012

They taught the presenter how to do the 'Proud to be a RAM' sign that they made up.

'Cause... you know... that's how we roll.

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2013

#4 and #5 American Degrees -- I will let them argue about which one was which.

This year Brett (right) will take her own FFA members to their first National Convention.

I hope hers will go as well as mine have.

 

It's a magical time of the year -- harvest is in full swing, the school year is into a groove and it's time to head home -- to see my FFAmily.

 

Stop and say hi -- I'd love to hear from you.

It sometimes takes bad things to make you realize the good things.

 

It is no secret ag programs are community programs.  More so than most teachers, we all have stakeholders engaged in our classrooms, FFA chapters, and SAEs.  It goes the other way as well - we become part of community organizations, leadership, activities, and our neighboring schools.  And colleges.

 

But we don't always give credit to the community-building ag programs can do.  This is more than adding the Alumni, Rotary or Lions clubs, donors, or others who contribute to your program.  It is creating that sense of community in our students.

 

It is opening their eyes to what is possible when a group has common purpose. 

It is connecting your youngest leaders to the most experienced in your town.

It is teaching youth how they can invest and contribute to the world closest around them.

It is living up to the fourth line of the FFA motto.

It is opening doors to opportunities not for personal success, but for the common good.

It is creating the future of your community - the future where people care, where people support, where people make a difference, where bad things can happen and you know we will be okay in the end.

 

We do these things. We can do these things greater. And it is so important.  It does not happen enough, in enough places.  It is not intrinsic anymore, or guaranteed - it must be taught.  It must be nurtured.  It must be modeled.  It must be built so that when it is needed most, it is ready.

 

This was not my intended first post of the school year.  I'm not sure it will even make sense.  But I can't describe how it is when something so heinous happens in a building you've sat in, on a campus you grew up with, down the road you live on, where the students you taught were in class.  I can't do anything about what happened, but I can choose how to respond, and where I will focus. I choose to contribute, in the best way I know how.  And I am so proud of how our part of the world, our towns and our communities, have chosen to respond as well.  It isn't always vogue to admit you've moved back to where you came from.  I've never been more glad to be from here.  And I hope we all live up to the quality of character that has been displayed over the past three days.

 

Don't take for granted the things - big and small - you do for your community by preparing your students.  Continue to build that, with the hearts and minds of those who come into your classroom tomorrow.  Make the world better because you were there, and because those students were with you.  We have been given a powerful tool and an influential avenue with agricultural education and FFA.  Use it.  We all may need it.

 

My community has been tested.  It sometimes takes tough things to make you realize how strong you can be.

 

Our community has proven strong.

 

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