Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

October 9, 2013

New Paoli ag teacher welcomes challenge

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — Effort makes all the difference when it comes to successful curriculum in any classroom and hoping to take that belief to unexplored heights is Paoli’s new agriculture teacher, Lindsey Pritchard.

Starting with the new school year this fall, it’s seen as a win by both parties as administration at Paoli is confident work will be done to grow a more competitive program and a perfect small town fit for Meeker graduate Pritchard. Excited by the potential alone, she has wasted no time diving in to activities like the recent County Fair and wants to make sure there are no limits to what is available for those in FFA or 4-H.

“I’ve had late nights ever since we got back to Paoli,” said Pritchard, mentioning how proud she is of the current student body’s recent efforts in the livestock arena. “I get to see all the potential of a big chapter, a more active chapter.”

Pritchard, who also taught in Lawton as a horticulture teacher, pointed out how the fit has already worked out so well due to the emphasis being placed on family values. It’s something she believed eventually laid the ground work in her own life at home raising show animals like sows as well as sheep and throughout her own experiences in similar programs.

From the time she got involved in the McLoud 4-H program to showing livestock through Meeker, she didn’t take long to prove she was talented in just about every area, including welding and speaking. While this did not immediately inspire her to become a teacher back then, she wants to use those early years to not only bring the same experiences, but actually improve by doing things she did not even know were around when she was in school.

That means going beyond just the usual setup like the premium sales, where she was a participant all four years of high school, two of those grand champion steers.

“I grew up with a small town and school where agriculture is a big deal for kids,” said Pritchard. “It was a learning experience the whole time I was in FFA… If they offered it, I showed it.”

One program Pritchard is already in the process of adding is a trap shooting/shotgun class and she hopes to follow with an archery class in the coming months. She won’t stop there with student interest already behind other ideas like lawnmower racing and eventually a floriculture class.

The success of the efforts so far include for the first time in school history honors like 10 students going to MFA and ALD conferences. The school took a new honor at the fair as well by winning grand champion doe and reserve for bucks in rabbits.

“I’m excited we’re getting diversity in the chapter,” said Prichard. “Just the variety we’re going to have at the local show is exciting.”

It’s an enthusiasm that’s spreading around campus too as Pritchard’s students have started to take pride in the whole campus through improvement projects like painting the fences around the sports fields. In the end, she welcomes anyone in the community who has not got involved in supporting the program to do so.

“My ultimate goal is to get students more involved and active,” said Pritchard. “Without them we’re not going to do anything.”