A group of Madisonville teenagers spends their afternoons researching national water issues and debating their merits.
The students – enrolled in MHS ag science teacher Lynita Foster’s popular course – say the experience has groomed them for college and the workforce. Students Matthew Longoria, Mia Caperton, Pheaktra Ly, Bethany Bullard and Morgan Manning will compete in district on Nov. 10.
The group of high schoolers presented a pro-and-con presentation to MCISD Superintendent Keith Smith and school board members on Oct. 11. Averie Sims, also a member of the team, was unable to attend last week’s presentation.
While the kids were clearly practicing for their upcoming competition, it was evident they’d done their homework.
“Ag is a great program to get into,” Smith said. “It will be very beneficial to you as you move into your careers.”
The students said they enjoyed digging into the topic of water because “it’s relevant to our county and state,” according to Ly.
Foster, the group’s faculty adviser, said the class offers an opportunity for young people to learn how to “organize and defend their thoughts.”
Caperton, whose father Chadd Caperton is the Madison County extension agent, said agricultural issues are frequently discussed in her home.
“I’ve been exposed to ag all my life,” she said. “It has taught me so much.”
Ly said she doesn’t have a family background in the ag business – “unless you count flour from doughnuts” – but she fell in love with it.
“I tried out and Ms. Foster said to give it two weeks,” Ly said. “I grew to love ag and FFA. You get to know a lot about animals and plants and what’s going on in your community.”
The ag issues team has historically performed well in competition, and local graduates of the program frequently return to their hometown to participate in ag-related events.