Location: Huntsville, Ark.
Teachers: Jerick Hutchinson (pictured) and Ashley Wishon
About the Department: “There are two of us in the agriculture education department at Huntsville High School with Ashley Wishon being the other teacher,” Jerick Hutchinson said. “We both teach animal science classes, but she specializes in shop classes while I focus on natural resources, animal science and ag mechanics.
“Almost all of our students are rural, but that doesn’t mean they live on a farm. Only around 50 percent have the opportunity to raise animals so fewer show than you would think although some students work on farms of extended family members where they keep animals. Others focus on livestock judging and our new vet science class. We have partnered with the robotics class in the past. They plan and we build what they design as part of our curriculum for our students. During the summer we attempt to visit each of our students with animals at least once a week and bring scales to get their animals’ weight statistics. I also support whatever they are doing which occasionally means visiting them in the hay field or while doing other chores. Typically, we have around 20 students showing, but I try to help students of all ages at the shows. We, fortunately, have tons of community support so we somehow always seem to get what we need.”
Philosophy: “I want to make my students better human beings. I feel if any student graduates or becomes a better person because I was in their lives, I’ve done my job well. As ag teachers, it is our jobs to create relationships with students that will encourage them to make right decisions and hopefully to give them more of a reason to be at school. Even though agriculture may not be students’ eventual career, the goal is to help everyone become a valuable part of our society. My job is to present options and opportunities as well as provide support.”