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Yuma High FFA tries to reach kids early
About 15 students from the Yuma High School FFA program were at Alice Byrne Elementary School Thursday afternoon to teach kindergartners and first graders about pumpkins.
The high school students split into four groups and went into separate classrooms where they read “The Life Cycle of a Pumpkin” aloud to the elementary students before overseeing an interactive activity.
The presentations were given as part of the Arizona Farm Bureau's Agriculture in the Classroom Program, which develops curriculum to help students and teachers be successful while increasing agricultural awareness in public schools.
Students should be taught about agriculture because “it is important for everybody from birth on up to understand where their food comes from, how it grows, how it is produced, how it is harvested, and how it gets from the field to the grocery store,” said Leigh Loughead, YHS agriculture science teacher and FFA advisor.
“This is our small part of starting the education process of getting the younger students to understand all of this.”
Debra Ferguson, a kindergarten teacher, welcomed the discussion about pumpkins in her class, and noted the importance of agricultural knowledge.
“Some of their parents are field workers, some of them are not, but they all certainly go to the grocery store,” she said.
The presentations not only benefited the younger students, but the FFA members as well, because it “throws them in the limelight,” Loughead said.
“They have to talk in front of kids and work together on who is going to say what, and who is going to give out what. It teaches them teamwork and responsibility, and puts what they have learned in the class more into perspective.”
Michaela Land, a senior at YHS who interacted with the kindergartners in Ferguson's class, enjoyed mentoring the younger students.
“We get to teach littler kids the simple things about agriculture,” she said, adding she hopes some of the students she spoke with on Thursday will become members of FFA one day. “Hopefully. We need them to be.”
Ferguson was pleased the Yuma FFA students came to her classroom.
“They are great,” she said. “We appreciate them coming in.”
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.