How do we end up in our field or industry, in school and in our careers? Often, it is our early experiences and chance encounters that nudge us down a given path.
In 27J Schools, students often discover new paths they may not have known existed were it not for the experiences and inspiration of their teachers.
When Brighton High School, SD27J's Agricultural Education instructor and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor, Ron Gentry, was in high school, his path to graduation and success after high school was not always clear.
"I was not a good student when I was in high school and struggled to keep C’s," said Gentry. "If it wasn't for Agricultural (Ag) Education and FFA I am not sure I would have stayed in school."
After completing high school, and at the suggestion of his own Ag teacher, Gentry decided to become a teacher himself.
The same impression that an educator made on Gentry years ago has come full circle at Brighton High. Mr. Gentry’s teachings have inspired countless students to pursue careers in Agriculture--one of those students is BHS senior Joey Bernatow.
Joey had no idea what the Agriculture program even was until he enrolled in Agriculture Technology to fill his schedule junior year. Now in his senior year, Joey is enrolled in two Agricultural classes, Animal Science and Ag Mechanics.
Joey is now looking at how he can continue his education after graduation to include Agriculture. “Mr. Gentry has given me a newfound passion for things that I never thought of doing before. I have learned skills that are applicable in many real life situations.”
Joey recently nominated Mr. Gentry for 27J Schools - Reaching Out Award. This award recognizes outstanding employees who have gone above and beyond their normal obligations. On October 22, Mr. Gentry was recognized by the Board of Education for his efforts thanks to one student’s appreciation for the positive impact Gentry has on many.
Never underestimate the positive influence a teacher can have on a student or the opportunities CTE courses provide as young adults are trying to "figure it all out."