2005 National Excellence in Teaching about Agriculture Award
Mr. Ronnie Thomas
An agriculture education teacher at Houston County High School, Ronnie Thomas maintains a school livestock farm with the help of his students. This outside laboratory allows him to teach all grades and all levels of students. On a daily basis he has a special education student that cannot read or write working beside a college-bound veterinary student. "Regardless of ability or life goals, each individual is learning agriculture," says Thomas.
Mr. Thomas' high school students have adopted a fifth grade classroom. They send email journals to keep the class up-to-date on what is going on at the farm. The fifth graders apply this to science, language arts, economics, math, and other subjects as Mr. Thomas and the fifth grade teacher have established. The project includes visits to the fifth grade classroom and the farm.
Another project illustrates how Mr. Thomas goes well beyond the role of a traditional agricultural teacher as kindergarten students are brought to the farm to plant and label a Christmas tree. Students visit their tree annually to fertilize and observe the growth each year. During the sixth grade year, students take the tree home for their family.