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Spring 2004 - High School

Destination Purdue > Spring 2004 - High School

Purdue studentws in the School of Agriculture are heading back to high school

By Annette Kent

As a part of the educational curriculum, agricultural education students are spreading throughout Indiana to offer their services as student teachers, mentors and teaching aids. While the majority of students are involved with schools in the Lafayette area, a number are venturing to Indianapolis. One such school is the Star Academy in Emmerich Manual High School.

Purdue's involvement with the Academy stems all the way to its beginning. Jerry Peters, Purdue professor in agricultural education, co-founded the Academy, which functions as an urban agricultural development institution. The Academy is modeled on the Chicago High School for Agriculture Sciences (CHSAS). "We said, why can't we have something like that for our people here?" Peters said in response to his visit to CHSAS.

Peters and his associates wanted to create a similar school in the Indianapolis urban area to promote similar ideas of diversity and awareness of agriculture to a wider demographic, such as the populations in urban areas.

Today, the academy functions as a part of Emmerich Manual High School in Indianapolis. High school students commute from all across the Indianapolis area to attend the magnet school, where they receive specialized training in agricultural sciences and learn of career opportunities in the field of agriculture.

To maintain ties and promote the field of agriculture, students from Purdue make trips to the Academy to speak about their experiences and the personal benefits they've received from their agriculture education. Nicole Gale, coordinator of multicultural programs and advisor of Purdue MANRRS (Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences), routinely makes visits to the school along with MANRRS students.

"My main goal is creating awareness," Gale said. "Many students are unaware of the many avenues that a degree in agriculture can provide." Gale hopes the trips and the visibility of Purdue students help Star scholars to see that there are true career possibilities in agriculture and that these opportunities are constantly expanding to include students just like them.