I have returned to Newton County. It feels good to be back in the county with people in the community that I previously worked with when I was a Newton County Extension Agent. One change I have seen is that some of the adults I am calling upon for assistance in the agriculture program were my former 4-H kids. My new position as an agriculture teacher at Newton College and Career Academy has given me the opportunity to work in the subject area I love, agriculture, and with students in class and the FFA program.
If you are wondering what the Newton College and Career Academy is all about, let me tell you that it is a fabulous place to work and attend school. I am going to focus on the agriculture pathway and FFA part of the school, even though there are opportunities for students to participate in other pathways such as engineering, nursing, culinary and marketing. The school also houses regular academic classes, as well as AP courses.
The agriculture pathways at the Newton College and Career Academy focus on Animal and Forestry/Wildlife areas. I am fortunate to be working with a two veteran agriculture teachers. The principal and CTAE director for Newton County, James Woodard, is a former agriculture teacher, and Marcus Pollard, agriculture teacher at NCCA, are a wealth of knowledge and experience. Mr. Pollard concentrates on the Forestry, Environmental and Wildlife pathways at the school. As part of his classes, he has a bee keeping facility where the students collect honey to sell. The profits benefit the FFA program so if you are in need of local honey please contact us. Mr. Pollard has also created nature paths that focus on tree identification, wildlife observatories, and places to collect samples for laboratory use in the classroom.
We are excited this year as we prepare to implement a new plan for the greenhouses focusing on propagating trees, shrubs and fruit species for sale to the public. Another great project underway is an agriponics laboratory where we will teach students about aquaculture and grow plants for different purposes such as food for the Farm 2 School program or shrubs to move into the larger greenhouse. As we set up the agriponics greenhouse, we need supplies. If anyone has extra pvc pipe or aquaculture equipment you would like to donate please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The classes I will be teaching focus on the animal pathways. This year I will be teaching Animal Science, Veterinary Science and Equine Science. We have 54 students ready to learn about the animals because they are interested in a future in agriculture through livestock or veterinary. This means that the goal of agriculture education is being achieved. We need students pursuing jobs and college degrees in the agriculture field to maintain the number one job market in the state of Georgia.
The FFA program is another aspect of my job that I love. When I am able to work with students after school on Career Development Events, a Supervised Agriculture Experience project, or leadership activity, it makes me feel a sense of accomplishment. Mr. Pollard and I have the extraordinary opportunity to work with all the FFA programs in the county. This means that we help the FFA advisors at the base schools (Alcovy, Eastside and Newton) with their competitions, trips, banquets, and meetings. In my eyes, I have the best situation because I am able to work with all the kids. When students succeed through FFA and in the classroom that is when I feel I have succeeded.
If you have a child interested in the Newton College and Career Academy, please contact the school for more information and to set up a tour. We would love to have new students in our agriculture program.