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Future Farmers of America

There are approximately 140 Colleton County High School students enrolled in the agriculture programs offered at the Thunderbolt Career and Technology Center . As part of the agriculture program, students are allowed to join the Future Farmers of America, better known as FFA. The FFA program is currently taught by Robin and Gary Lutton, who also teach the agriculture classes at TCTC. According to Robin Lutton, this is her and her husband’s fifth year teaching in Walterboro. According to Lutton the Mission Statement for the FFA is important to understanding what the program is all about. FFA’s Mission: “FFA makes a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education”. For Lutton, “I do believe that FFA does this through giving students the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities such as career development events, becoming a chapter officer, helping with community service projects, and/or touring agricultural industries and colleges.” Lutton and her husband teach a variety of agriculture classes and the skills and information provided in those classes can be applied to all aspects of agriculture. “What we do in the classroom, relates to what we do outside,” Lutton said, “If its agriculture related we do it!” One of the agriculture classes that Lutton currently teaches is a small animal class where students learn to care for small animals. Through a new and unique partnership with the Colleton County Animal Shelter, students were able to groom several shelter animals this week for the first time. “They learn not only how to take care of the animals but also how to groom them,” Lutton said. The School District just approved several trips the FFA will be taking this year, including a trip to Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia and the Sunbelt Agriculture Expo. According to Lutton, “Four students that graduated from the high school are currently attending ABAC this year. As seniors, our students get to go actually step foot on the campus. Because of where it is at, a lot of kids don’t have the opportunity to see it.” The Sunbelt Ag Expo is held October 17th-19th and this is the 40th year for the expo. It is an agriculture based trade show for farms of all sizes, according to Lutton. This is an educational experience for her students Lutton said, “They can see the equipment and talk to the sales reps about it.” The FFA will also be taking about 25 students to the South Carolina State Fair this year. According to Lutton, “There are two reasons for that, one is to go to the fair to see the Ag section of the fair and also three of our students will be competing in the FFA Tractor Operation and Safety Competition.” The three students competing this year are Wesley Bryan, Damontre Ferguson, and Michael Pollack. Lutton believes that FFA and all of the agriculture classes they teach are important to students because, “We teach job skills, we push leadership. These are skills of everyday life that they may not use now but they will use later, like cutting grass.”

Amye Stivender (88 Posts)