Apple Valley, Calif.- Students, staff, industry partners, and community members gathered at Apple Valley High School Wednesday to celebrate the construction of the school’s long-awaited agriculture building with a brief groundbreaking ceremony.
The ceremony kicked off with words from Apple Valley Unified School District superintendent Tom Hoegerman, who welcomed guests, thanked the Board of Trustees for their support, and applauded the hard work of the staff, students, and community members who have been involved in the school’s FFA program.
The 3200 square foot agriculture building is expected to reach completion by early 2020, and will help meet the demands of the school’s successful agriculture program as it continues to grow. Funded through a California Department of Education CTE (career technical education) grant, the facility brings classroom space, hands-on lab space, and housing for the approximately 25 animals kept on campus. Students in the agriculture program have also raised funds to purchase equipment to be used inside the facility.
Long-time advisor and agriculture teacher, Duane Penfold, explained the more than 15 year history and planning that lead up to this construction. “We’re calling it ‘The Barn’, but it really has become a complete agriculture building,” said Penfold. “There are so many things we do on a daily basis, which we can now do indoors…we do poultry processing at the end of each year…we’re one of the only animal science programs in the state to teach animal ultrasound and we can now do that in the barn.” The crowd chuckled as Penfold added that ultrasounds on horses will no longer need to take place in his classroom.
Audrey Cook, Apple Valley FFA Chapter President and high school senior, spoke about the impact the new building will have on current and future students. “FFA isn’t just farming,” said Cook. “We learn leadership, speaking skills, teamwork, the responsibility of raising an animal, learning how to use a record book, as well as money management. The agriculture program and FFA develops career leadership, personal growth, and career success by using a learn by doing model.” She added that the construction will allow students to receive additional hands-on learning experiences, including breeding sows.
For more information about the Apple Valley High School agriculture program, contact Duane Penfold at firstname.lastname@example.org.