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Career Pathways — Agriculture
        Page 22                                                                                                Electronic Edition:

                    Unique AFNR Program at Highland Park

                                                                                learning experiences that ignite their passion   munity service within the AFNR department
                                                                                for  agriculture  and  inspire  lifelong  learning.   and FFA chapter at Highland Park. Our stu-
                                                                                Part  of  the  SAE  program  at  Highland  Park   dents  actively  participate  in  service  projects
                                                                                includes  a  floral  design  school-based  enter-  that  benefit  local  residents,  such  as  creating
                                                                                prise,  an  SAE  initiative  that  allows  students   personalized  cards  for  residents  of  nearby
                                                                                to get hands-on experience with a flower busi-  nursing  homes  or  making  tie  blankets  that
                                                                                ness  run  out  of  the  school.  Students  create   will be donated to children in need for Project
                                                                                fresh floral arrangements for members of the   Linas. These acts of kindness not only bring
                                                                                Highland Park community, create posters and   joy  and  comfort  to  those  in  need  but  also
                                                                                social media updates to inform the community   foster empathy, compassion, and a deep sense
                                                                                about  sales,  plan  the  designs,  and  set  prices   of connection to the community for students.
                                                                                for  items  sold.  These  learning  opportunities   The  Highland  Park  AFNR  Program
                                                                                allow  students  to  apply  classroom  knowl-  stands  as  an  example  of  the  transformative
                                                                                edge in real-world settings, fostering a deeper   power of agricultural education. The Highland
                                                                                understanding  of  agricultural  concepts  and   Park Agricultural  Education  program  is  one
                                                                                practices.                         the top agriculture programs in the state, offer-
                                                                                   Students  may  choose  to  continue  their   ing  a  comprehensive  curriculum,  hands-on
                                                                                learning  by  joining  the  Highland  Park  FFA   learning experiences, and meaningful service
                                                                                program, one of the top ten programs in the   opportunities. We empower students to realize
                                                                                state.  Within  FFA,  students  achieve  premier   their full potential and make a positive impact
                                                                                leadership,  personal  growth,  and  career   on  the  world  around  them. We  are  proud  to
        Harley Braun, AFNR Teacher          that has grown from 20 members to over 150.   success  by  participating  in  community   share our experiences and insights with fellow
        Students Lillian Thuente and Ellie Moore  Due  to  Highland  Park’s  location  in  St.   service projects, a local Ag Day that reaches   educators  across  the  state,  inspiring  them  to
        Highland Park Senior High           Paul,  new  courses  were  developed  to  better   thousands  of  elementary,  middle,  and  high   create  innovative  and  impactful  educational
        Saint Paul Public Schools           connect  with  student  interests  and  local   school students, FFA Day at the Capitol, local   programs in their own communities. Together,
            If  you  step  into  Ms.  Braun’s  classroom   career  opportunities.  These  courses  include   and  state  leadership  conferences,  State  and   we can cultivate a future where every student
        at  Highland  Park  Senior  High  (HPSH)  in   AFNR  Biotechnology,  AFNR  Communica-  National Convention attendance, and chapter   has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.
        Saint  Paul,  you  might  see  students  texturing   tions,  Sustainable  Food  Production,  AFNR   officer  retreats. This  year,  over  70  members
        soil  samples,  practicing  their  knife  skills,  or   Leadership  Development,  AFNR  Business   have participated in an event beyond the local
        presenting  workshops  on  the  importance  of   Management,  and  Landscape  Design.  Stu-  level  with  over  40  members  qualifying  to
        communicating about agriculture to the public.   dents  in  these  classes  model  “learning  by   advance to the State FFA Convention.
        These topics might be commonplace in rural   doing.”  For  example,  in  ANFR  Biotechnol-  We have a strong commitment to com-
        Minnesota,  but  the  Agriculture,  Food,  and   ogy, students have the opportunity to conduct
        Natural Resources (AFNR) program at High-  experiments using real-world laboratory tech-
        land Park is unique for an inner-city school.   niques and equipment such as micropipettes,
        Each year, almost 600 students take courses in   gel  electrophoresis,  and  a  thermal  cycler.   Bees, Produce, and Décor Program
        the AFNR department and take advantage of   Another  key  aspect  of  courses  at  Highland
        leadership  development  opportunities  in  the   Park  is  incorporating  cultural  connections  to
        Highland Park FFA. The AFNR program pro-  agriculture,  such  as  highlighting  Indigenous   Honored for Innovation Continued from Page 1
        vides a pathway to career success by offering a   methods of maple syrup production or explor-  community through part-
        wide range of courses, hands-on activities, and   ing global foods.     nerships and sales. These
        service  opportunities  that  empower  students   In addition to the projects students com-  are all life-long learning
        to thrive academically, personally, and profes-  plete in class, students continue their learning   lessons.
        sionally. The  Highland  Park AFNR  program   outside of the classroom with their Supervised   Since most Wadena
        has experienced exceptional growth over the   Agricultural  Experience  projects.  Whether   Area  Learning  Center
        past  4  years  with  the  addition  of  a  second   it’s creating a cookbook or educating elemen-  students stay in the com-
        instructor,  six  new  classes  offered,  a  new   tary  students  about  agriculture,  students  are   munity  after  graduation,
        school-based  enterprise,  and  an  FFA  chapter   actively  engaged  in  meaningful,  experiential
                                                                                the  long-term  hope  is
                                                                                to  have  them  foster  this
                                                                                stewardship  in  the  com-
                                                                                munity as adults as well
                                                                                as have them involved in
                                                                                career opportunities.
                                                                                   The  impact  of  the
                                                                                program  has  been  great
                                                                                in  the  school,  district,            Check out this video made after being
                                                                                and community. Through the Bees, Produce,   honored with an Innovation Program Award
                                                                                and Decor program, students’ attendance has   from MREA in the fall of 2022: https://www.
                                                                                improved  greatly,  and  staff  sees  a  notice-
                                                                                able  difference  in  student  engagement  and
                                                                                involvement.  Students  take  pride  in  their
                                                                                work  and  are  engaged  learners  in  valuable
                                                                                   Freshwater  Education  District,  thank
                                                                                you for investing in your students and devel-
                                                                                oping innovative ways to serve.
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