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Creekside Celebrates National Future Farmers of America Week

Creekside FFA  

Creekside FFA When National Future Farmers of America (FFA) week continues February 22-27, Travis Hyman will be celebrating with students all over the district. Hyman, who is the Lead Instructor for the Agriculture Education program at Creekside High, has also helped get the program off the ground at Cogburn Woods Elementary. "We're proud of Mr. Hyman and the Agricultural Program at Creekside High," said Creekside Principal Frankie Pollock. "We pride ourselves as being one of the exemplary programs around the state of Georgia. Currently, Creekside is working on securing partnerships with local colleges to ensure students have an opportunity to continue their Agricultural education after high school. Mr. Hyman is also working closely with our feeder school, Bear Creek Middle, and is helping Oakley Elementary launch their program."

Bear Creek's Agriculture Education program is helping students build their interest in the agricultural pathway offered at Creekside. "We collaborate during FFA activities and events," said LaDonna Whithrow, Bear Creek, who graduated from Fort Valley State University with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Education. "The middle school students can utilize their peers who are in high school to help them prepare for the pathway and become more active in FFA. We also have students who have developed projects in middle school and want to take them higher in high school."

And, the collaboration has paid off. Bear Creek has had 100 per cent FFA membership and several Silver and Gold medals for students competing in FFA awards programs. Bear Creek had a First Place winner in the middle school record book competition, receiving recognition at the FFA state convention and a Region FFA Quiz finalist. The Quiz finalist will compete in the state FFA competition in March. Additionally, students have created Aloe Clean hand sanitizer from aloe plants grown by the students. The collaboration also encouraged a middle school Supervised Agriculture Experience (SAE) record book Gold Medal winner to become a state FFA Proficiency finalist for Creekside in the area of Horticulture research.

In September 2020, Oakley Elementary began its partnership with the Creekside Agriculture Education program. "We're excited about our students participating in this program," said Principal Estella Cook. "Mr. Hyman has been so invested in helping our program be successful from the start, from hosting our teachers and staff for an Introduction to Agriculture Education to assisting with identifying the Agriculture Education concepts into their Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies instruction. They see the advantages and importance of their students being able to make these real-life connections and be prepared to continue the pathway when they leave Oakley."

But the pandemic has put a strain on the program. "I believe in learning by doing," Hyman said. "We have 200 ferns we're growing, but I have a class of only 20 students. Without those students, it takes twice as long."

Hyman, who grew up on a small farm in Monroe, Ga., was always into agriculture. He received an Agricultural Education Degree from the University of Georgia and has been with Creekside for 15 years. The school's program includes plant science and horticulture, small animal care and production and Agribusiness.

There is a fully functioning greenhouse, 400 gallon aquaculture tank complete with growing channel catfish and bluegill catfish. Owen Thomas Fisheries donated the catfish to the program. As part of the Agribusiness program, students learn to market vegetables they garden. "We have a cold season garden with collards, broccoli, turnips and cabbage," Hyman said. "Our warm season garden includes tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash."

The small animal care program includes rabbits, and also 34 chickens and laying hens. "We collect two to three dozen fresh eggs daily," Hyman said. "Happy hens lay happy eggs."

One of the best kept secrets on the southside, Creekside's Agriculture Education program is preparing students for careers in Agriculture. This Spring, they'll offer seedlings to the community. "We have organic fertilizer for all of our garden areas," Hyman said. "We're looking forward to the community supporting our program."

For more information on FFA week visit www.ffa.org.

 

Creekside FFA Program with Principal Pollock and Traves Hyman

Principal Frankie Pollock and Traves Hyman in Creekside High greenhouse.

Creekside FFA Program Instructor with rabbit

Martis Ferguson, Animal Science teacher, holds rabbit.

Creekside FFA Instructor with Eggs

Traves Hyman shows freshly laid eggs at Creekside High.