Courtesy Photo Caliche FFA advisor Todd Thomas presents a Green Hand Award to Joel Contreras.
Todd Everhart, Merino High School FFA advisor, is pictured with a clock that was made and presented to him by former student and FFA state president Gus Gill. Everhart was named the John E. Knaub Ag Teacher of the Year at the Colorado FFA State Convention.
Kelly Schmidt, FFA advisor at Fleming High School, displays one fo the T-shirts the club was selling Saturday as a fundraiser.
Ron Gentry (Courtesy photo)
For Logan County students wanting to explore the field of agriculture, they are fortunate to have some wonderful FFA advisors to guide them.
This year the hard work of these individuals is being recognized as past and present FFA advisors have been invited to serve as parade marshals for the 2021 Logan County Fair Parade on Aug. 7.
One of those advisors is Todd Thomas, who has been an ag teacher/FFA advisor at Caliche High School for 20 years.
“The reason I became an ag teacher was to help kids the way that I was helped as a kid. I also am a strong advocate for agriculture and what better way to advocate than to show kids that there is a future in agriculture,” he said.
Asked what it is about FFA that makes him want to stay involved with it Thomas said he appreciates that it’s an organization focused on kids and he enjoys getting to see them grow as people and find their own way.
Some of his highlights as an FFA advisor include seeing his students get recognized for their hard work. Two particularly meaningful experiences were seeing his oldest daughter become the State FFA President and his youngest daughter go to the National FFA Competition in extemporaneous speaking.
In addition to being an FFA advisor, Thomas has also served as manager of the Logan County Fair for 11 years now. Needless to say, the fair holds a special place in his heart and he has made plenty of memories there over the years.
One of his favorite memories is the year there was so much rain the arena and area around it flooded. While it could have been a disaster, it is memorable because of what happened after the rain stopped.
“The whole community came together to drain the water away, work the arena and make it so we could still have our events and the public could enjoy the fair,” he said.
During his two decades as an ag teacher and FFA advisor Thomas has served as Region II Vice President for the National Association of Agricultural Educators and he was voted Best School Teacher in the Journal-Advocate’s 2013 Reader’s Choice Awards.
Another longtime FFA advisor in Logan County is Todd Everhart. He just completed his 25th year teaching agriculture, spending one year in Idalia, two in Kersey and 22 in Merino, and he said being an FFA advisor is one of the best parts about it.
Everhart’s father, Dennis, was an ag teacher for 26 years, so he grew up around it. But he didn’t think he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps until he nearly completed a degree in finance and decided that wasn’t really what he wanted to do.
“I decided to follow the advice of my dad and others who suggested I would be a good fit in the agriculture education field,” Everhart said.When asked what it is about FFA that makes him want to stay involved with it, he said FFA’s mission says it all: “The National FFA Organization is dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of young people by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth and career success through agricultural education.”
“My father always explained agriculture education as a three-layer cake with the bottom layer for the foundation being SAE or Supervised Agricultural Experience, which is our Work Based Learning component and is exemplified by the line in our motto which says Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live and Living to Serve. The next two layers are Classroom and Laboratory/Shop experiences. FFA is the icing on the cake that holds everything together and allows students to meet the mission statement by applying what they have learned in numerous settings,” Everhart said.
After 25 years in the profession, he says he has way too many memories to highlight, but his favorite part is seeing past students and FFA members thrive in our community and the country.
“Some of them share way too much of the credit for their success with their advisor,” a humble Everhart said.
The ag teacher has made a lasting impact on many of his students and it shows, in 2019 the National Association of Agricultural Educators recognized him with the Teacher Mentor Award and in 2018 he was honored with the John E. Knaub Ag Teacher of the Year Award at the Colorado FFA State Convention.
As an FFA advisor and ag teacher, Everhart has spent countless hours at the Logan County Fair and has always enjoyed going.
“There are lots of memories, but I really watching my students in the livestock shows, at the rodeo, and in all other parts of the fair. I appreciate that no matter where they place in their activity/event there is always a lesson to be learned,” he said.
Other current FFA advisors include Ron Gentry, who started at Peetz High School last fall, replacing Mike Forster who moved into the principal role and Kelly Blake, who has been at Fleming High School since 2016. Sterling High School is welcoming a new FFA advisor this fall, Whitney Hatch, as Kasey Anderson, who has been at SHS since 2013, moves into a science teacher position.