PM’s agriculture program named tops in PA

Penn Manor High School’s agricultural education program has been named the Outstanding Secondary Program in Pennsylvania by the state Association of Agricultural Educators. The program, which enrolls about 250 students, is now in the running for national recognition.

The state award “is a testament to the dedication and teamwork of our teachers and the hard work and the passion of our students for agriculture and all its related industries,” said Neil Fellenbaum, one of the program’s four agriculture educators.

The diversity of courses available to students is one of the reasons the program is so successful, Fellenbaum said.

Pupils can enroll in everything from Introduction to Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources to Veterinary Science, Horticulture, Agriculture Business, Biotechnology and Agriculture Mechanics. Students can earn college credits in some courses. In addition, they can earn credits for completed courses if they attend one of three colleges with articulation agreements with PMHS – Delaware Valley, State University of New York or Harrisburg Area Community College.

All Penn Manor agriculture students are members of Manor FFA — which boasts its highest membership in 10 years – and are encouraged to complete a supervised agricultural experience outside the classroom. SAE projects enable students to put into practice the skills they’ve learned in the classroom by raising animals or crops, completing environmental projects or other research or working for ag-related businesses while learning about budgeting, expenses and income.

“We are constantly striving to get our students involved in all three – classroom instruction, our FFA chapter and our supervised agricultural experience program,” Fellenbaum said. “When they are, the preparation a student gets in technical skills, leadership and experience in the No. 1 industry in Pennsylvania and the U.S. is hard to beat.”

According to Fellenbaum, Penn Manor’s agriculture program prepares students for more than 22,000 jobs within the school district, mainly in the agriculture, construction, manufacturing, transportation and health care industries.