Team effort: First-year ag teachers put aside rivalry for program

Published Wednesday, September 5, 2018

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New Teammates

NEW TEAMMATES – First-year teachers Ashley Pearson and Clayton Roberts are working together to lead the Alvord High School ag department. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

Texas Tech graduate Ashley Pearson and Texas A&M alum Clayton Roberts enjoy some good-natured ribbing about their rival schools.

The two first-year teachers quickly put aside the rivalry to form a team in their effort to transform the Alvord High School ag department. Arriving over the summer, the pair have worked to get more students involved and make the Alvord program an affiliated chapter of the FFA. As an affiliated chapter, every student enrolled will have their dues paid and will be eligible to participate in FFA leadership development programs.

“We’re starting with the foundation at the base level,” Pearson said. “We’re both super fired up. We want to get as many kids involved as we can. This is an ag community. We’ve got to ramp it up.”

Pearson graduated from Paradise, and her father has taught ag for 24 years. Upon looking for a job, she was intrigued by the prospect of Alvord.

“I knew where the Alvord program stood and wanted to see if I could improve the program,” Pearson said.

Roberts, a Northwest graduate, liked the opportunity to join a small district that valued its ag program.

“I did my student teaching at a 4A school and graduated from a 5A school. I knew I liked smaller schools,” Roberts said.

“We want to get the involvement from the students and community and let them know what FFA is about and the opportunities out there.”

Pearson and Roberts are tackling a full slate of classes along with helping students with projects outside of school.

Pearson is teaching several ag-related courses, including principals of ag and natural resources, equine science and livestock production. In the spring, she will be teaching a course that will help students earn hours toward their veterinarian tech certification.

Roberts is working with students in structural science and ag mechanics classes. He will be teaching students wood and metal working, fence building and masonry.

Alvord High School Principal Aaron Tefertiller has been impressed with the work of the two first-year teachers.

“We wanted to get our participating numbers up, and they are. The kids seem excited and are buying into what they are doing so far,” Tefertiller said.

“[Roberts] is working to boost our welding program. You go to football games and see a lot of welding equipment on the back of trucks. [Pearson] has a lot of experience with speaking events and competitively showing animals.”

Pearson has been helping students purchase animals since June, and Roberts has been working with students to replace floors in trailers to gear up for a busy spring showing season.

The chapter will take part in a buckle show Oct. 27 and leadership development event Oct. 29.

Before then, the ribbing about A&M and Tech between Pearson and Roberts will continue.

“We talked about getting a sign, chapter divided,” Pearson joked.

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