Medora school adding FFA chapter, agriculture classes



The seeds have been planted for agriculture education opportunities at Medora Community Schools.

In the third trimester of this school year, science teacher Ashley Kincaid said she plans to teach an introduction to agriculture class.

That’s also when she hopes to begin incorporating a new offering at the school — an FFA chapter.

School officials said a few agriculture classes were offered in the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s, but they haven’t been a part of the curriculum since then.

In the summer, there will be a supervised agricultural experience class. Then starting with the 2018-19 school year, Medora hopes to offer at least one agriculture class each trimester and continue building the FFA chapter.

The Medora Community School Corp. board of trustees recently approved the establishment and constitution for the Medora chapter of the National FFA Organization.

Kincaid has to submit that paperwork by the end of the year.

Trustees also approved establishing an extracurricular account so money collected from FFA fundraisers can be deposited.

It all came about with Kincaid being hired by the school corporation in June to be a science teacher.

She had been involved in FFA while attending Southmont High School and received an agriculture education degree from Purdue University.

Last school year, she was a student teacher with Brownstown Central High School agriculture teacher and FFA adviser Blake Hackman. She also had connections with Jeanna Eppley, who was her high school FFA adviser before coming to Seymour High School to hold the same title and teach agriculture.

“I wanted to do what (Eppley) did,” Kincaid said. “When I came down to take a new job, I knew she changed my life, so I’m ready to do that for my students.”

Medora becomes the fifth Jackson County high school to offer FFA. The other chapters are at Brownstown Central, Seymour, Crothersville and Trinity Lutheran high schools. Seymour and Crothersville also have middle school students involved in FFA.

In September, Kincaid and six students attended the District 11 kickoff in Scottsburg, where they learned more about FFA while interacting with state officers and doing activities with other FFA members.

“Most of them were freshmen to get interest and see what it’s all about,” she said of her students.

Offering FFA will give Medora students another way to be involved, Kincaid said.

“My goal is to get these kids excited about their education and kind of give them a place in school,” she said.

Kincaid said FFA’s original intent was to give kids the ability to build their skills so they could go home and make their farm be successful.

It has evolved to where those skills can be applied to a variety of careers, not just farming.

“If you look at your employment here in Jackson County, it’s strongly ag-based, whether that be working as an accountant for John Deere or working down at Bundy’s or just going back and farming,” she said. “Ag is very, very prominent in Jackson County and what these kids are going to be employed in.”

Kincaid said she has talked to Hackman and Eppley about doing some things together so her students can learn more about FFA since it’s new to them.

“I’ve been in contact with them about county fair stuff,” she said. “We’ll definitely be ready to go by next school year competing and different things like that.”

The agriculture classes also could help the students determine their career path.

Supervised agricultural experience will allow them to do a project based on an area of agriculture in which they are interested.

“They fill out some paperwork and do some bookwork,” Kincaid said. “It’s more taking those skills we’re teaching in ag and applying that to real life careers.”

Kincaid said they surveyed students to determine what type of agriculture classes they wanted. She will work with Principal Austin Absher to add those classes into her schedule starting with the 2018-19 school year.

Trustees will have to approve any new curriculum, and Superintendent Roger Bane said he will keep them informed of what is added.

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