Brooklyn Baggett
Co-Editor in Chief

An insider view into Mission Viejo High School’s award winning FFA Chapter, which is  led by dedicated teachers Ms. Shook.

Credit: Richard Yates via youtube.com

     Established in 1966, Mission Viejo High School is the home to one of the only agricultural farms on a high school campus in Orange County. 

     Not only does the farm provide hands-on learning experiences for high school students who can take a variety of agricultural classes for science credits, students are also encouraged to take part in Mission Viejo’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter. 

     FFA is a national organization, specifically a career and technical student organization, which is made up of approximately 735,038 members across the United States. 

     Not only can students participate in a variety of leadership and speaking competitions, many enjoy raising animals and/or plants on their school’s farm. 

     An agricultural program cannot succeed without teachers who have a passion for both agriculture and their students. 

     Ms. Shook and Ms. Adams are perfect examples of teachers and advisors who are committed to helping their students get the most out of their experience in agriculture sciences and FFA.

     From day one, Ms. Shook has always had roots in agriculture. “My high school agriculture teachers inspired me to start teaching. I wanted to be a farmer, but my teachers told me that I could teach at a school with land since my family didn’t have any land,” she remarked.

     After gaining an interest in teaching, Ms. Shook began teaching in 2009, and started teaching at MVHS in 2011. Over the course of her career, she noted that her favorite memory is going to the Orange County fair with the livestock students for competitions.

     This goes hand in hand with her teaching philosophy, which is, as she puts it, “Learn by doing. Anytime we can get out of the classroom and learn things hands-on is better for us, better for them, and better for everyone.”

     Likewise, she mentioned that, “The farm is like a lab to work on outside. My goal was to work in a city area where not many kids know about agriculture.”

     Ms. Shook’s main hope for her students is to participate in class and really try to learn the material, which is especially important in agriculture sciences. 

     While she doesn’t expect her students to become farmers, she expects them to at least be knowledgeable and be able to talk about what they learned in class and out on the farm.

     From steer to pigs, there are a variety of animals on Mission Viejo’s farm, which are taken care of by both the teachers and students. 

     Ms. Shook commented that her favorite animal on the farm is the chickens, because she used to have chickens and she enjoys playing with them. She is also enthusiastic about the greenhouse, of which she states, “… has been my favorite thing for the past two years.”

    When she is not teaching or out on the farm, Ms. Shook can be seen camping, or offroading in sand and desert places. Oftentimes, she is with her dogs, Ellie, a cattle dog cross, and Roxie, a dachshund.

     Our agriculture teachers are who make both our school and our farm blossom, and it is easy to see that they are dedicated to instilling the same passion that they have for the farm in their students.