Of the 2,541 students enrolled in Arkansas’ Clarksville school district, 658 students are regarded as active English learners. In other words, English is not their first language. The Clarksville FFA Chapter is recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse in the nation.
Consider this: Clarksville FFA members include a barrel racing champion and a fledgling cattle farmer who are learning about agriculture and developing leadership skills alongside classmates from countries including Mexico, Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Albania. As it turns out, most members in the chapter are more familiar with growing tropical fruits and vegetables (or have no experience in agriculture at all) than growing cotton and raising cattle.
This creates a rich learning environment with opportunities to foster cross-cultural collaborations and to develop understanding and deep friendships.
Clarksville High School agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Libby Sanderson has adapted her curriculum to reflect the diverse needs of her students, and she values the school’s uniqueness.
“We realize that we’re all different and we don’t look like the other FFA chapters, but I don’t want us to look like the other FFA chapters,” Sanderson says. “I want us to embrace who we are. We’re happy to be us.”
You can read more about the ways Clarksville FFA embraces its diversity in “Come Together.”
In this issue, you’ll also find articles about National Ag Day, plant-based protein, Black History Month, the 2019-20 national officer team and more.
Enjoy and have a super spring!
Editor, FFA New Horizons