Julia Sanderson, Coleman Regional Agriscience Center American Degree Award Recipient

Coleman Regional Agriscience Center-Growing for the Future Using STEM Concepts

The beginning of the school year is always an exciting time and this one has been no different. Though increased safety measures have been put into place, students at the Coleman Regional Agriscience Center have been busy applying STEM concepts and achieving big goals.

Students from Clare, Gladwin and Midland County schools started the year out at the school land lab applying practical math skills while laying out areas for development. These areas include future K-6 raised garden beds, row crops, pollinator garden, compost area, hoop house, fruit and Christmas trees and beehives. Additionally, the class, along with its teacher Mr. Eric Fischer, used applied mat to mark out corners using the Pythagorean theorem, allowing for practical use that brings relevance and understanding to students. Furthermore, Catherine Sokolowski and Cynthia Portala have been working with Karen Thurlow of the Midland Conservation District to map, soil test and plan for the pollinator garden that will be planted this spring.

In addition to the purchase of the land lab, Coleman Schools was awarded the Marshall Plan for Talent Grant and with those grant funds, the program was able to purchase a tractor and its equipment from Gene’s Tractor Sales to be used by CTE students. In order to ensure student safety, Greg Robinson, of Gene’s Tractor Sales presented tractor safety and helped to certify students in a tractor safety course.

Outside of the land lab, students have been busy in the barn caring for their Broiler Chickens and Laying Hens. Over the next eight weeks, students will be learning about broiler nutrition, anatomy and physiology, meat production and processing. Furthermore, students are able to collect, weigh, grade and market eggs that the hens produce allowing them to practice accounting and communication skills. AJ Simon, a first year Agriscience student from Coleman stated that his favorite part of raising birds is “seeing the progression of birds every day. It is fun to watch them grow and rewarding to see how well you have done caring for them”.

Our goal at Coleman Regional Agriscience Center is to give students the skills that will make them career and college ready following graduation and we love to see students reach their goals. In May, Julia Sanderson a graduate of Coleman Regional Agriscience Center and Dow High School applied for and was awarded her American FFA Degree, the first student in program history to do so. The American Degree is the highest degree that the FFA can bestow upon its members and is awarded to less than 1% of members nationwide. In order to earn this degree students must complete a plethora of requirements including;

·         receive a State FFA Degree, 

·         holding active membership for the past three years, 

·         completing secondary instruction in an agricultural education program (earn at least $10,000 and productively invested $7,500 or earned and productively invested $2,000 and worked 2,250 hours in excess of scheduled class time)

·         operating an outstanding supervised agricultural experience program

·         have completed 50 hours’ community service, 

·         shown leadership abilities and have outstanding scholastic achievement 

 Julia will be receiving her award at National FFA Convention in October, and will be aired on RFDTV. Congratulations to Julia and we can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds for our students.