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Thanks to Teachers: Chuck Michel

Chuck Michel is a longtime agriculture teacher at Madison County High School, who also runs the Future Farmers of America (F.F.A.) club. Michel says about a fifth of Madison's students are members of this large and winning club. The walls of two classrooms are covered with awards from F.F.A. competitions throughout Michel's nearly 30 years at Madison. He says the quality of the students helped make the program what it is. "We have former students working in universities. We have them working as attorneys, physicians, other teachers. We really like that, when they decide to be other ag teachers," says Michel.

Many current F.F.A. students are enjoying the winning tradition. "This is probably the best thing that's ever happened to me," says sophomore Jennifer Ledford as she holds the trophy for winning the state land judging competition. "I'm going to love going to nationals." Meanwhile, fellow sophomore Jacob Kelley reflects on his big win in a very different F.F.A. contest, one for public speaking. "Learning that I had placed in the top 4 in the nation and finding out that I had carried something that Mr. Michel had taught me and Mr. Michel had showed me, and coached me on, and I had taken it all the way to the national level." Michel says the key to his own success is having the support and involvement of his fellow ag teacher, the students, their parents and the community. "Sometimes I see maybe, younger teachers try to get started. I think they feel pressure to take everything on themselves, and it's just impossible to do that." "Mr. Michel is just a huge inspiration to all of us here at Madison." says Jacob Kelley.

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