Randolph aims to grow FFA at Hartselle High
When Austyn Randolph was hired as the Agriscience teacher at Hartselle High School in May, he said he was excited to have the opportunity to carry the program that had meant so much to him when he was a student at Hartselle High School.
“I was very active in the AG department and FFA there when I was a student,” Randolph said. “It means a lot to me. The program has a special place in my heart. It’s an answered prayer to get to give back to the program and school that did so much for me.”
Randolph’s vision for the agriculture department is to focus on getting more students involved by recruiting in the classroom and using what Randolph refers to as a three component model of a successful agriculture program.
“We want to focus on classroom instruction, live practical instruction, and then through FFA, the organization associated with the class,” he said.
While he does want to grow the program through these traditional methods, Randolph also says he wants to focus on broadening the appeal of the program as well. “FFA is not all about cows, sows and plows. Too much in the past I have seen people have too much of the stereotypical view that ag and FFA is just all about farming, but there is a spot for any student from any background in our classroom and program.”
There are a number of ways in which Randolph intends to broaden interest in HHS’s Agricscience program. One of those ways is by embracing the homecoming festivities. “Hartselle is really big on our homecoming. Homecoming week is probably the best week of the school year; the whole community gets involved from parents and teachers as well as students. It’s just a phenomenal thing that presents an awesome opportunity for our students to be involved with.”
There are also plans for campus beautification days, planting a garden and refurbishing a 1946 Farmall tractor that the students will be able to use for the garden, as well as pulling Christmas parade floats. Randolph also plans on introducing archery to the program and hunter education. He says his chief goal is to give the students as many options in order to help each student find something that will interest them.
Randolph said the thing he is most proud of this year is the number of students that signed up for Agriscience as an elective without initially having interest but that have now grown to love the program early into the semester.
“I want the students to see what we’re doing with the FFA and AG program. There truly is a spot for every kid,” he said. “Some kids maybe didn’t understand what Ag was or it wasn’t their first choice, but they’re thriving in the program right now. That’s the number one goal for me.”