Agriculture Education at West Craven High School
The Agriculture Education classes are among the most popular classes for students at West Craven High. These classes are engaging and hands-on but the Ag teachers, William Shaw and Caroline Tart-Warmack, are the main draw for the students.
Students at West Craven have the opportunity to complete three Career Pathways in the Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources Career cluster: Animal Science Pathway, Plant Systems Pathway, and Power, Structural, and Technical Systems Pathway.
Students learn first-hand the importance of Agriculture and this is best described by a quote from West Craven High AG Teacher-Mr. Shaw, "Agriculture is the top economic driver for our state with nearly one in every five jobs being in agriculture. As a state, we rank 9th nationally in cash receipts and are top in the Southeast ahead of Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Virginia. This isn't by accident or by geographic fortune. Over the last hundred years, North Carolina agriculturists have cultivated better methods, new technologies, and responded to meet the needs of a growing and diverse population. To continue with progress, the agriculture industry in NC today needs an educated, forward-thinking, skillful workforce to continue feeding our growing citizenship. By knowing how your food gets from the field to your plate sets you up to be successful in any of the wide variety of careers in agriculture. Throw in a few skills you learn in Ag Class and you can find any job in the animal, plant, or mechanical sectors right here in our state.”
The West Craven High Animal Science program is fully equipped with a barn, pasture, and of course animals – ranging from rabbits and guinea pigs to goats, chickens, and potbelly pigs. Students are responsible for the daily care of these animals often taking shifts during weekends, summer months, and holidays – as they learn that the care for animals doesn’t stop when school is not in session.
The Horticulture program has a state-of-the-art greenhouse where the students learn how to grow plants from seeds to harvest. The students have implemented a rainwater collection system and have started a raised bed garden project. Mr. Shaw and this program have been awarded two grants this school year: The Bates Foundation Grant for $5,000 and the Weyerhaeuser Giving Fund Grant for $5,666 – so be on the lookout for a new addition of a John Deere Tractor as our program continues to grow.
The Agricultural Mechanics classes help prepare students to handle the day-to-day problems and repair needs they will encounter in their chosen Agricultural career. They learn safety, hand power tool use, electrical wiring, fencing, basic metalworking, and basic agricultural construction skills related to plumbing, carpentry, welding,…and so much more.
So, needless to say, the Agriculture classes at West Craven are always full of students eager to learn the necessary skills that will enable them to pursue personal goals of gardening or animal husbandry or the pathway to their dream careers in Agriculture.
For more information about the Agriculture Education programs at West Craven High School, please visit our WCH Webpage or the WCH FFA Facebook page.