Page 14 - The ALEC Gazette-2018
P. 14

 Agricultural Education Graduates
Return to Hometown Roots By: McKenzie Hanson
When students enter into the agricultural education program at the able to do that for students like they did for me,” Watson said.
University of Tennessee, it is often with the goal to return to the same school district from which they graduated. While this is not always realistic, three graduates of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources have returned to the same county they attended high school to pursue teaching careers. Even more special, all three were graduates of Clinton High School, an East Tennessee high school with a strong agriculture program.
Morgan Watson, Erin Champion, and Maegan Elliott graduated from CHS in the Spring 2011, where all three had been involved in the school’s agriculture classes and National FFA Organization. Although the three began their college careers studying everything from nursing to physical therapy at different colleges, they eventually found their home on the University of Tennessee’s agriculture campus with the agricultural leadership, education, and communications department.
Though the three have found different positions in the Anderson County school system, their high school friendship has followed them through their collegiate days at UT to their current careers.
Watson, a spring 2015 graduate of ALEC, has now claimed her spot as an agriculture teacher at CHS where she teaches small animal science, large animal science, vet science, and agriscience. She attributes her interest in becoming an agriculture teacher to her high school agriculture teachers, Rodney Mann and David Rogers, who are now her colleagues.
“Everything they did for us really had an impact on my life, and I wanted to be 14 Tennessee
The classroom directly above Watson’s class is where Champion now teaches biology, leadership, and environmental science. Upon her graduation from CASNR in the fall 2015, there were no job openings for agriculture teachers in the area. Instead of relocating, she chose to pursue a position as a biology teacher at CHS where she has worked to improve the department’s laboratory.
After seeing the excitement that her students had for lab experiences like dissections, Champion decided that she wanted to implement more educational opportunities in the lab. She was awarded a grant, providing her the ability to give the lab a makeover by upgrading the safety equipment as well as adding more specimens for dissection.
“There is no comparison to working with excited learners in the classrooms as they explore and discover the world they live in,” Champion said.
Ten minutes down the road from CHS is the Clinch River Community School, a K-12 alternative school in Anderson County. Elliott joined the school’s staff to teach agricultural science, greenhouse, and agricultural mechanics in the fall 2017. She said her high school agriculture teachers emphasized love and logic in their interactions, and she now uses that ideology with her own students.
“I thought there is no way, as a teacher, to use love and logic in the classroom, but you can, and I do everyday,” Elliott said.

   12   13   14   15   16