Penn State Alpha Tau Alpha Celebrates Future Ag Teachers

Posted: June 27, 2011

Members of the Penn State Eta Chapter, of the Alpha Tau Alpha, a national agricultural education honorary, recently awarded the finalists of the second annual Teach Ag Essay Contest during the 82nd Pennsylvania FFA State FFA Convention celebration as part of Pennsylvania’s participation in the National Teach Ag Day! Campaign.
2011 Teach Ag Essay Finalists and Teachers

2011 Teach Ag Essay Finalists and Teachers

When presenting the finalist, Doug Masser, 2011-2012 President of the Eta ATA Chapter, said, “The primary purpose of ATA is to promote the highest standards of agricultural education.  We are excited to have record breaking participation in our event this year, and we truly hope that as FFA members engaged in the making a positive difference, that you would consider making the commitment that could make the largest difference: to be an agriculture teacher/FFA advisor."

This year’s participants were asked to teach ag for a day (with the help of their ag teacher) in their high school classroom.  They then had to reflect and write a response to the question, “Why Teach Ag?  What I learned as an ag teacher for a day.”

Due to the generous support of the event sponsors:  The Pennsylvania FFA Association; Pennsylvania FFA Alumni, CEV, and the Penn State Department of Agricultural and Extension Education, every participant received a Teach Ag! T-shirt. The top four contestants also received paid registration to the Pennsylvania State FFA Convention.  In addition, gift cards to the FFA store in the amounts of $50, $75, and $100 were provided to the third, second, and first place individuals.  All participants and their teachers were invited to an Ice Cream Social following the ceremony.

In her essay, finalist Morgan Campbell of the State College Little Lions FFA said, “Perhaps one of the most rewarding career paths that one could choose is teaching. Although all teachers play a vital role in shaping their students, possibly the most influential in terms of molding the future of our world are those who choose to teach Agricultural Education.  Not only does a career as an Ag Science Teacher provide one with a pristine opportunity to help shape upcoming agriculturalists , but it also renders the great benefits of accomplishment, influence and joy, all of which I became exposed to in my experience as an Ag Teacher for a day.”

The four finalists were:

1st Place - Erin Beever, Ephrata High School; Agriculture Teacher, Sarah Quigg

2nd Place -Janice Richardson, Northwest High School; Agriculture Teacher, Atchley Stackhouse

3rd Place - Shawna Weller, West Perry High School; Agriculture Teachers, Ayla Detwiler & John Hines

4th Place - Morgan Campbell, State College High School; Agriculture Teachers, Jessica Harpster & Paul Heasley

Agriculture teachers prepare students for high-demand careers in cutting edge industries like biotechnology, renewable energies, engineering, food production, and more.  They also teach students how to be leaders and prepare them to take on the challenges of the next generation.

National Teach Ag Day is a day set aside to celebrate agricultural education, and for teachers to share with their students the possibilities of a career in the profession.  There is a national shortage of agricultural educators in the United States, and National Teach Ag Day is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the career.

National Teach Ag Day is a part of the National Teach Ag Campaign, an initiative of the National Council for Agricultural Education, led by the National Association of Agricultural Educators.  For more information about teaching agriculture, visit  For more information about joining this exciting profession, e-mail  The National Teach Ag Campaign is sponsored by Campbell Soup and Landmark Nurseries as a special project of the National FFA Foundation.

For more information:
Daniel Foster, Student Teacher Coordinator
Phone: (814) 863-0192