December 2018
Youth Matters

FFA Sentinel: A Sweet Way to Learn


The finished product is a rewarding accomplishment for Priceville FFA students.

Priceville FFA chapter reaps the rewards of beekeeping and honey production.

Donation of bee supplies. Ordering bees. Honey. Short and sweet, but that is how Priceville High School’s FFA Chapter has gone from a few donated items to over a hundred jars of honey.

Honey, used for baking, skincare, allergies, and known for being a pleasurable addition to your morning coffee has morphed into THE topic of discussion at Priceville High School. Outside hands-on learning versus inside the classroom is what has gotten the FFA students excited about learning the science behind beekeeping.

"I think this is a great opportunity for students to see production from start to a finished agricultural commodity. The finished product is rewarding and an encouragement to each student that I have in my classroom," says Nicole Fields, Priceville H.S. Ag teacher/FFA adviser. Fields is in her second-year teaching at Priceville High School and has many more outdoor hands-on learning activities planned.

The high school agriculture education program is unified by three components: agriculture in the classroom, Supervised Agriculture Experience Program (SAE), and The National FFA Organization. An SAE provides students with hands-on learning experience and then applying what is taught in the classroom. Through Ag class, SAEs, and the FFA students will develop agriculture knowledge, a positive work attitude, leadership, and responsibility while gaining a real-life work experience.

Beekeeping and honey production are an excellent hands-on agricultural learning opportunity.


Dylan Wallace, a junior at Priceville High School, has chosen beekeeping for his SAE project and has participated from day one. "This project has given me an interesting insight into the process of honey and how it is formed. I live in an apartment, which would usually limit my ability to learn about an intriguing topic such as beekeeping. This opportunity given to me by my agriculture class has proven to be a valuable learning experience that will benefit me in my future. I am very proud of the work I have put into beekeeping and the results that have become of it," says Dylan.

"Our Beekeeping SAE has tremendous backing from our school’s administrators. As an Ag teacher it is always important to have support for all the things that we do in Ag class," says Fields. "My goal since day one has been to provide opportunities that offer ALL of our students something to be a part of. I feel that this gives everyone the chance to have a positive experience and create positive memories during their high school career. We have added several new programs but this was a chance to reach out to students through our Ag program."

"When I approached Mrs. Fields about beekeeping, she was very receptive. As word began to spread about the possibility of a beekeeping program, we received a generous donation of supplies from a local resident who was a former beekeeper," says Mr. Mark Mason, Principal at Priceville High School.


Students are responsible for all aspects of honey production.

Ramsey Huffman, a retired Vocational Director, had kept bees in the past but did not have any active hives. Huffman donated all his equipment to our Ag Department. That, more than anything, made the dream a reality. Without his generosity, we would have needed to do fundraising to get the equipment we needed to get started.

During the fall and winter, a handful of students worked after school to get the boxes cleaned, re-painted, and ready for bees in the spring. In our first year, we have been fortunate to have the opportunity to harvest honey from the hives. We think this was a great chance for our students to reap some reward for the work that they have put in to this project. The finished product is something that they can sell to help grow this program. Additionally, the harvesting of the honey has already generated some new interest from other students. We see this program growing and benefiting our students in the future. "I am thankful to Mrs. Fields for taking this project on and seeing it through. She has been a tremendous asset to our students and staff. I am grateful to have her on our team at PHS," says Mason.


Nicole Fields is the Agriscience teacher and FFA advisor at Priceville High School.