What is your SAE?

Anna Juarez, Senior Writer

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At Indian Land High school, there is a rich history of agricultural education. The Career and Technology Education department offers a variety of classes in agricultural education. Mrs. Heather Alligood currently leads this program and its club, The FFA, formerly known as The future farmers of America. While these classes and the FFA have a focus on agriculture, the program offers much more to its students involved. Students engage in leadership activities, complete community service, and learn about the applications of agriculture in today’s society. Throughout the semester in every agricultural class, students are able to complete an SAE project or a hands-on supervised agricultural experience.
Their projects have different areas of focus, such as entrepreneurship, agriscience research, improvement projects, agricultural service learning, placement, and exploratory projects. Students are required to log their time spent on the project, financial transactions, and develop essays along with a visual presentation.
Though it may seem tedious, students in the Ag. department enjoy completing their projects, as they are free to explore different areas of their interests.
Mason Mazeruek, a senior this year told us about his project on hydroponics. In simple terms he said, “The basic goal is to grow plants without using soil.” hydroponic horticultural methods are considered being used as the practice is more sustainable. When asked if he thought hydroponics were important to the future, Mazurek replied, “definitely, NASA is using hydroponics to feed future colonists on Mars, so it’s instrumental, I would say, to the future of all mankind.” He made a point that hydroponic gardening is not only important to the future, but it has many uses in the modern day. The student explained, “it’s (the practice of hydroponics) being used to grow food in areas of the earth where the soil isn’t that great, so it is even helping people on earth right now.”
Another student Colt Thompson, a junior, is pursuing a placement SAE, working at The Ivy Place in Van Wyck. Like former student Jake Faulkner, Colt is learning the basics of running a small business and principles of agriculture through his job. The Ivy Place grows seasonal berries and is a top choice for wedding venues. Thompson, completes many tasks as a part of his job, including berry picking, grass cutting, and helping set up for weddings or other occasions such as the Indian Land, fall festival meeting. The scenic 33-acre piece of land is a small glimpse into the possibilities of pursuing an agricultural career. This year students are exploring other areas of study such as beekeeping and an exploratory compost system, that could potentially produce soil for the annual spring plant sale.
Along with the projects mentioned, students in the past have presented many interesting projects including some about aquaculture (fish farming), raising chickens, as well as home gardens and improvement projects. Outstanding SAE projects have the opportunity be recognized at the State FFA convention hosted in June every year at Clemson University. Whether you’re studying the genetic differences within different strains of strawberries, assisting in the greenhouse, or raising chickens and fish, it is clear that Indian Land High’s agriculture department offers a unique experience through SAE projects.

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