FFA members with Dr. Evers in greenhouse

Members of the Plymouth High School FFA chapter show State Superintendent Tony Evers around the Food Science & Agriculture Center during his 2016 visit.

CTE: PHS ag program trains farmers – and much more

Posted February 20, 2017

The 13 agriscience technology courses at Plymouth High School provide extensive hands-on applications of lessons learned in core classes to students interested in farming, animal care, natural resources and landscaping.

Many of the classes take place in the new Food Science & Agriculture Center, which features a 2,700-square-foot greenhouse, an attached classroom with six state-of-the-art lab stations, innovative hydroponics and aquaponics growing systems, and refractometers, which measure sugar levels in vegetables to determine peak harvest time. The center is a modern research facility, where students are involved with the installation, maintenance and testing of various systems.

Plymouth FFA is hosting a Culver’s Thank a Farmer fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 25. Culvers will give the chapter 10 percent of its sales that day.

Career & Technical Education focuses on the exploration of the self in relation to the world of work. Hallmarks of CTE are college and career readiness, academic and technical skills, work-based learning, and leadership skills. The biggest CTE disciplines are business education, technology education, culinary arts, and agriculture. We will explore each of these in February, which is CTE Month.

Workplace readiness

All agriscience classes provide invaluable preparation for careers in food production . In addition to the classes above, students also can position themselves for such careers by pursing the following opportunities at PHS:

  • FFA: The Plymouth FFA Chapter was chartered Oct. 7, 1929, one of the original 18 in Wisconsin. Recognizing that agriculture is more than just raising livestock and growing crops, the chapter provides opportunities for students from every walk of life to continue their growth in this vibrant industry. Participants gain leadership experience; learn about agriculture trades, funding for future education, degrees of membership, work-based learning opportunities, and much more.
  • Youth Apprenticeship: This year-long opportunity is available to juniors and seniors. Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship Program integrates school-based learning and work-based learning to provide youth with academic and occupational skills leading to both a high school diploma and a Certificate of Occupational Proficiency. This program combines academic and technical instruction with mentored on-the-job learning that makes a real world connection for the students. This program is open to juniors and seniors, and students may apply in February. Students must maintain good grades in school, work for at least 450 hours in a year, achieve required work skills, and meet high school graduation requirements in order to complete the program.

Awards and accolades

The PHS agriscience program has garnered a number of awards in recent years:

  • PHS agriscience teacher Tracy Heinbuch received a Lakeshore Technical College Top Tech Award in 2016.
  • Grace Schumacher, who graduated in June, was one of 24 2016 National Agriscience Winners, winning the Division 2 Animal Systems category.
  • Erica Helmer, who also graduated in June, was one of 47 2016 National Proficiency Winners, taking first in the Dairy Production-Placement Category.
  • Five members of the PHS chapter earned their American FFA Degrees in 2016: Makayla Klumpyan, Addy Miller, Vicki Payne, Rebekah Schalk and Hannah Larson. Less than 1 percent of all FFA members nationwide achieve this level of recognition.

Learn more:
Explore the Agriscience Curriculum offered at Plymouth High School.
• Visit the PHS FFA website at www.phsagzone.org.