Page 15 - The ALEC Gazette-2018
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   Elliott takes pride in building connections with her students, many of whom have behavioral problems that brought them to CRCS.
“You have to build relationships with these kids that will take precedency over every other obstacle that they are facing in their life,” Elliott said.
Mann, who taught all three during their time as students at CHS, is proud to see his former students come full circle.
“It’s amazing to see how they were impacted by the agriculture program they were students of and to see that they were inspired to pursue this career to make a positive impact on their students,” Mann said.
While their high school teachers and experiences sparked their interest in studying agriculture education, all three ladies’ time at UT was also an important stepping stone in their development into educators.
Champion notes that two ALEC professors, Christopher Stripling and Carrie Stephens, were instrumental in her success at the university.
“They always went above and beyond to help out whenever they could,” Champion said.
Watson mentions that her favorite part of being an ALEC student was it’s location on the agriculture campus. “It seemed almost like a different school because everyone was so helpful and I knew most people,” Watson said, adding that it’s distinguishably smaller size helped her to feel more comfortable.
Stripling, the advisor for all three during their time at UT, said that the strong agriculture program at CHS contributed to their successes.
“They liked students, had a passion for agriculture, and had that ag education in their background, which really helped them choose that path,” Stripling said. “It starts with good ag teachers, like those they had at Clinton, who do a great job in the classroom.”
According to Stripling, the three alumnae have demonstrated a strong work ethic, which is required to succeed in the challenging field of agriculture education.
“Ag ed is different every day and often times you have to work evenings and summers,” Stripling said.
Through their high school agriculture program and time as ALEC students, Elliott, Champion, and Watson have found their passions and cultivated their careers. By pursuing teaching jobs in their hometown, they are now able to make meaningful impacts in the lives of their students. p
Morgan Watson returned to Clinton High School to teach agriculture classes.
A grant allowed Erin Champion to improve Clinton High School’s biology laboratory.
  Maegan Elliott manages the greenhouse at Clinch River Community School.
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