High Schoolers Explore SUNY Cobleskill, Engage in Hands-on Learning as College Hosts Ag High School Day

College’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources hosts event’s 14th year, welcoming students from across the region for a day of hands-on learning.

More than 1,000 students and faculty members from nearly 50 secondary schools converged on SUNY Cobleskill Friday, for the College’s annual Agriculture High School (Ag HS) Day. Students from Western New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and beyond participated in activities hosted by all five academic departments in the College’s School of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The day provides a chance for students to explore programs they may elect to pursue at the college level, as well as meet faculty members across areas of study.

While many schools attend Ag HS Day annually, this year marked the first on which the Carriage House Café and General Store was open for business. Agricultural Business and Culinary Arts faculty members guided students through regional product identification contests, a pie bake-off, and ice cream making competition. Contestants attempted leaf blower skee-ball, hosted by the Plant Science Department. Others met the amphibious and reptilian residents of the Herpetology Lab. The ever-popular canine training exercises once again drew considerable attention, with many interested in learning about the Canine Training and Management Bachelor of Technology.

The range of different learning activities makes for a valuable experience in the eyes of the teachers and counselors who accompany the high schoolers. “I think the ability to see the different avenues for [careers] is really important,” said a pair of teachers from a regional high school in Connecticut. “The career-awareness is a big part of this. The students enjoy the contests, but the career awareness that they take away is the [real] value.”

The chance to practice with new materials and receive expert guidance generated some important learning experiences for three seniors in the welding program at Sullivan (NY) County BOCES. “I am not too concerned with how I did in the actual competition,” said one of the students. “I got to work with two new rods, and then talk with some of the [faculty members] about my experience. I know what I need to practice.”

Cazenovia Equipment Company is a sponsor of SUNY Cobleskill’s John Deere Tech Program, and the dealer’s Eric Haas was one of several industry representatives on hand meeting with students. “What today does from our perspective is introduce the different opportunities we have outside of just turning wrenches,” says Haas. “The John Deere Tech Program is really at the foundation of what you’ll be doing in this type of career. Most of the groups I interact with don’t know that – that they directly develop their career through this program.”

An awards ceremony concluded the festivities, where winners were announced in everything from a putting contest to small engine troubleshooting. The College looks forward to hosting another group of guests for Ag HS Day next year, which will mark the event’s 15th year.


This release was initially published by SUNY Cobleskill, 10/02/19


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