New Ag Center in Steele Plants a Seed for Students

When one small town high school in Kidder County closed its doors last year, several new ones opened for the students.

Tappen High School students moved into Steele High School – and brought big ideas for agricultural learning along with them.

Emily Medalen tells us how this merger has gotten hundreds of students excited about our state’s largest industry.

Since the school district’s ag program was based at Tappen before, the school got to work on implementing a shop that’s bigger and better than these students had ever seen.

The district put up a $450,000 ag education expansion in hopes to attract more students to the idea of a future in agriculture, and it’s exceeding expectations.

“It’s better than I imagined it would have been,” says Pete Martin, Ag Education Instructor.

Students at Dawson-Steele are getting down in the dirt to learn the ins and outs of agriculture.

The new shop opened its doors to students just a few months ago – 
and it has more students thinking about careers in this particular field.

“There’s something that will benefit everyone, and even if you step outside your comfort zone, you might find something that you enjoy more than you thought you ever could,” says Shaye Koester, High School Senior.

Right now, we’re in exploring agriculture class – where the students are planting veggies that they’ll actually tend to throughout the summer to sell at the farmer’s market in August. Ella, tell me what you guys are doing right now.
“We’re wetting the soil to put in the flats, then we poke holes in the soil to put the seeds in, and if they’re shallow enough, they’ll come out faster and grow,” says Ella Svanes, Grade 8.

“We live in such an ag dominated community that we just feel like ag education courses are vital,” says Diegel.

The staff says having a diversified curriculum with hands on learning is the goal.

“The kids really enjoy it. I mean, they’re really excited when they first come into the building. They work every day in it. They just seem to love it,” says Martin.

The upperclassmen say it’s given them a solid foundation for a future in ag, as well as planting the seed in the minds of students following in their footsteps.

“I’ve seen an increased involvement in kids who want to be involved in the ag program, and it’s just been a great learning experience,” Koester.
“It’s just kind of a cool opportunity to have and something not everyone gets,” says Austin Schmidt, High School Junior.

Funding for the ag center came out of the district’s building and general funds. 

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