2005 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Ms. Ferol Empen
Ferol Empen's classroom at Centennial Elementary School is a virtual agricultural museum which constantly changes with the seasons. Students see farm crop plants: corn, soybeans, oats, and wheat. Students also observe varieties of apples, blueberries, cranberries, peanuts, popcorn, and pumpkins. A cotton unit has students growing a cotton plant.
The cross-curricular integration of agriculture is Mrs. Empen's specialty, providing an assortment of experiential learning for her students across all subject areas. As the K-8 Language Arts Enrichment teacher, she disseminates her enthusiasm for agriculture to over half of the elementary population. Learning centers serve as an integral part of her classroom environment where students explore model farm building. Miniature machinery and realistic farm animals through role playing. Recycling displays and activities are shared during Earth Week, Family Reading Night and the Spring Book Fair to foster awareness of environmental issues. She was responsible for the integration of Agricultural Literacy materials through a county loan program. Mrs. Empen's teachings emphasize the "people cannot have a day without agriculture influencing their lives."