Vo Ag Teacher Offers Hands-on Experience, Encourages Community Involvement
In January of 2014, Ted Fulgham made the switch from working in the oilfield to becoming the Vo Ag teacher at Sidney Senior High School. Having previously taught at Montana schools in Hardin for eight years, Lodge Grass for 3 years, and Joliet for two years, Fulgham is pleased to once again be working with students.
The Vo Ag department includes Animal, Equine and Livestock studies, as well as Agronomy and Welding. These programs teach basic skills for continued education or entering the workforce. For example, the welding class teaches the fundamentals of the trade so that a graduate would have the knowledge to become a welder’s helper in the oilfield.
“These classes give students an outlet. Kids need to have someplace where they can do something hands-on. This gives them an opportunity to show success in areas other than academics,” Fulgham commented.
There are 45 students between the mechanics, agronomy, farm business and livestock judging teams. As of two years ago, the state of Montana now pays FFA dues and this year FFA has between 80 and 90 members.
In addition to FFA involvement, class sizes have also increased as students in these classes range from freshmen to seniors. Equine studies are an addition Fulgham introduced to the program. Community service is also a big part of hands on learning in the department and everyone in Fulgham’s classes are involved in volunteer work.
“If you are going to be in my classes,” says Fulgham, “you will be involved with serving the community.”
Over the summer FFA put on a petting zoo in the Tractor Supply Parking lot as a way to get people interested and involved. October 16th they will be helping with commodity boxes which are boxes filled with non-perishable food items distributed to elderly and low-income residents.
Upcoming events for the Vo Ag department include District Livestock Judging October 1st involving all districts from the Big Muddy region. Fulgham’s students will also be participating in John Deere Ag Days in Bozeman, MT November 13, 14 and 15.
Fulgham adds that he is always open for ideas and input from the community. Anyone who would like to become involved is welcome to help out. He can be contacted at SHS at 406-433-2330.