FAIRMONT - Fairmont ag teacher Amber Seibert recently was honored with a "Teachers Turn the Key Award" from the National Association of Agricultural Educators.
The award recognizes teachers in their first through fifth year of teaching in an effort to encourage them to continue their professional growth.
Seibert said the award gives her a free trip to the group's annual convention, with special programming designed for those early in their career.
Seibert is beginning her second year teaching the new ag program, which was funded through private donations and corporate sponsors.
She said that as the school moves into the second year of a three-year pilot program, it is extending an ag class to eighth-graders, and becoming more involved in the FFA side of the program.
High school guidance counselor Steve Geerdes said junior high students not involved in band or choir will be scheduled to take an Introduction to Agriculture class, which Seibert says will focus heavily on basic ag and where food comes from, along with commodities information.
Other courses offered this year include exploring agriculture; agriculture leadership; agriculture business and economics; principles of animal science; principles of plant science; small animal care and management; wildlife management; and landscaping.
Seibert said one student is participating in a supervised experience, which means he will work on his farm home for two hours per day and complete documentation of what he is learning.
She said the experience is only available to seniors who have taken her classes before.
This was Fairmont FFA's first year showing animals at the Martin County Fair, and while Seibert said she hoped to have more students showing, she expects to see involvement ramp up this school year.
"We just had our officers retreat," she said. "We have a really good team."
Many FFA students already participate in 4-H, a mainstay at the fair.