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Ag education and FFA classes return to Chadron High

Ag education classes and FFA will return to Chadron High School this after an absence of both for more than 40 years.

The Chadron school district began pursuing ag courses two years ago after requests from students and parents led to surveys that showed a high level of interest. Final approval came last week from the Nebraska Department of Education.

Chadron Superintendent Dr Caroline Winchester says the program will be operated on a shoestring, and school board president Sandy Roes says it wouldn't exist at all except for tremendous community support and the hard work of individuals and organizations involved in the Dawes County Joint Planning Committee.

Eight classes will be offered in wildlife and range management...some in the classroom, some through distance learning, and some as dual credit courses with Chadron State College.

Roes says there's little additional instructional cost to the school district because of the involvement of the college and because two teachers stepped forward to get additional endorsements. She expects the school board to take care of the final paperwork next month.

Chadron High principal Jerry Mack says the focus of the ag courses will be different than those offered by most schools in eastern Nebraska.

Those are generally focused on production agriculture while the Chadron High courses will reflect Dawes County and the Pine Ridge region...where wildlife, plant science and range management courses are a better fit with potential careers.

Chadron High isn't the first Panhandle school to resurrect agriculture and FFA after decades of absence. Bridgeport brought them back this year...also for the first time since the 1960s.

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