VINITA, Okla. — Carolyn Piguet, agricultural educator at Vinita High School in Vinita, Okla., is one of only six individuals nationwide who received the Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award, given at the National Association of Agricultural Educators annual convention in San Antonio, Texas on November 28.
Throughout Piguet’s educational career, she has had the opportunity to be a classroom science teacher, elementary counselor, alternative education principal, and now an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor. Through this diversity of experiences, Piguet understands the importance of getting to know each individual student and their unique qualities. With this specific knowledge of her students, Piguet believes curriculum can be shaped to match each student’s needs, allowing them to be successful not only in high school, but throughout their life.
“It is fitting that I teach a great deal of horticulture and plant science in my coursework. Plants, like students, have so much diversity. A student can plant a seed in the soil, just as I plant a concept in a student’s mind, and the growth process begins. Teaching is the development of a child’s individual growth and maturity. When true teaching occurs, a student demonstrates that growth in a full circle, like a seed growing into a mature and productive plant.”
Piguet believes agricultural education provides an opportunity for every student to find their niche. Within her program specifically, Piguet and her students have created a Farm to Fork initiative covering all agricultural interests of the students, including: animal science, horticulture, agribusiness and marketing, and food science. Thanks to grants received, students have transformed this project into a “Made in Oklahoma” store, food trailer, and catering business. Due to the hard work and dedication of the students who wished to see this initiative become a success, and with the guidance of Piguet, Vinita High School’s agriculture program was recognized in 2012 as the National Model of Innovation in Student Development.
Students also gain invaluable leadership experience through participation in the National FFA Organization, which provides agricultural education students with opportunities for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success. Public speaking, research, and mentorship are just a few areas in which students acquire skills in Piguet’s program. For example, through Piguet’s direction, members of Vinita’s FFA chapter have been National Finalists in Agriscience research in 2015, 2016 and 2017.
Thanks to Piguet’s guidance and dedication to the program, students have followed through with schooling and now make a difference in their work environment, as well as their home community.
Each of the six regional Outstanding Agricultural Education Teacher Award winners was recognized at the NAAE convention in San Antonio, Texas. The Outstanding Teacher Award is sponsored by Caterpillar, Inc. and Tractor Supply Company as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.
NAAE is the professional organization in the United States for agricultural educators. It provides its more than 8,000 members with professional networking and development opportunities, professional liability coverage, and extensive awards and recognition programs. The mission of NAAE is “professionals providing agricultural education for the global community through visionary leadership, advocacy and service.” The NAAE headquarters are in Lexington, Ky.
–National Association of Agricultural Educators
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