A commitment to teaching Career and Technology Education matters. Case in point: These four boys.

Bucklin FFA.jpg

The 2nd Place Kansas State FFA Ag Mechanics Team in 2015: Cy Ellis, Logan Davis, Campbell Martin and Colin Seacat.

Four years ago, I took this photo as the Bucklin FFA Ag Mechanics team headed to the Kansas State FFA Career Development Event. They were ready. They were excited. And they loved ag mechanics. They loved it with a passion that was hard to describe and hard for others to grasp. Welding, electricity, design plans, math ... it isn’t what your average 17-year-old kid finds inspiring.

But for these boys it was inspiring. So inspiring, in fact, that all four of them have chosen it as their career path. Three have graduated from tech schools—one was chosen as the outstanding student in his class. The other is studying Agriculture Technology Management at Kansas State University.

Two have already returned home to our community. One has started his own metal fabrication business. One is working at a local ag business.

The other two plan to return. One will farm with this family, but has been a top-notch employee for a custom harvester in the meantime. One has had an internship with an ag equipment manufacturer while he finishes school.

These boys are the next generation of our community. This, my friends, is how you invest in the future of your town. You offer education that allows students to add value to your community. You teach them skills, inspire them to learn more and create a desire to do more.

These young people become hard-working, highly valuable employees who love their small towns and want to return, not because they couldn’t work elsewhere, but because that small town invested in them. They start their own businesses. They support Main Street.

It would have been easy for our school to say, “It isn’t in the budget.” It would have been easy to say, “Our school is too small.” Instead, our school board committed to a program that has a long-term effect on our community. And within a few short years, they are already seeing a return on their investment.

Those boys in that picture placed second at state against schools of all sizes that day. It was an incredible achievement, but even more important is what it inspired in them and what that inspiration means to our community.

Holly Martin can be reached at 1-800-452-7171, ext. 1806, or hmartin@hpj.com.

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