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Ag teachers, program make a difference

March 3, 2012
Marshall Independent

To the editor:

In recognition of National Teach Ag Day, March 15, 2012, I would like to take the opportunity to thank my high school ag teacher, Mr. Paul Lanoue for all he did for the school and community as the former agricultural teacher at Marshall Senior High School.

His passion and dedication to helping students succeed is contagious. He was always available to give advice, lend a hand, or support the many endeavors our FFA chapter was part of.

He continues to be a big influence in my life as I attend the University of Minnesota majoring in Agricultural Education. I know he doesn't always realize the impact he has on students but I hope he knows that his energy is appreciated by me and the numerous other students that experienced his agricultural education courses. He is greatly respected and recognized by students as a teacher that provides and guides.

Even though I grew up on a farm, I admit that I did not want anything to do with agriculture when I started high school. However, Mr. Lanoue helped me not only discover but also define my role in the agricultural industry.

You see, unlike most teachers that would want me to join their club because of my "potential," Mr. Lanoue simply appreciated me for who I was, not for who I "could be." Constantly he would remind me, to just "be Kirby" and stick to my own personal integrity, do what was right and take responsibility for my faults. I cannot think of another teacher that has invested so much into my life, and genuinely cared about my future. Our FFA program sky-rocketed after Mr. Lanoue started teaching in Marshall! Membership numbers soared above 100; we become a top 10 chapter in the state and have sent teams and individuals to compete nationally. Who would have thought one person could make such a huge difference?

Since my graduation of high school I have traveled across the country, even to Argentina, to represent and advocate for agricultural education.

I have had the opportunity to meet the national leaders of our country, state and in agriculture. Mr. Lanoue was also crucial to my decision in joining the professional agricultural fraternity, Alpha Gamma Rho, which has helped my own personal development in college and given me lifelong friends. Today

I am pursuing a degree in education because I believe in the importance of teaching, mentoring and developing our future, just as Mr. Lanoue has does. Although he does not teach at the high school level any more, he community of Marshall is lucky to have Mr. Lanoue. Thank you to Mr. Willert, Mr. Jones and Mrs. Grinager for their support of agricultural education in Marshall.

This is one program that has profoundly impacted my life in a way I never imagined. Thank You.

Kirby Schmidt

Marshall High School, Class of 2009



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