Agriculture is the second largest industry in Tuolumne County, second only to tourism and followed by the lumber industry. Agriculture is the backbone of our country.
It is time for the community to get involved with the demise of the ag program at Sonora High School. The program has gone from two teachers to one teaching ag 80 percent of the time, and now possibly going down to 25 percent. What happens to FFA?
With the community's support, Summerville High, with only 460 students, has a full-time teacher a 100 percent program. Sonora High has 1,300 students and may be only a 25 percent program. There is something wrong with this picture. The community has always been supportive of our young people and the ag programs of the schools, which is evident with the junior livestock auction purchases at the fair netting more than $250,000. Even in this tough economy, the community has rallied behind our young people.
FFA is a very important part of the ag program. FFA teaches integrity, responsibility, leadership qualities and a commitment to the community, all of which help develop dedicated and responsible citizens. The school needs to expand the program, not reduce it; and keep the current teacher, Stan Kellogg, who has 25 years' experience. He has a very positive effect on his students and gives 150 percent. The obligation of a school is to provide the best education and opportunity to all students and to provide them with the skills to be productive adults and members of the community.