Kristy Ragan: Thank you Soroco
Things are not always as they appear. Education measured by testing and numbers is society’s way of justifying the current education system. What about the interconnectedness, the unquantifiable, the unmeasurable or simply a different perspective?
Soroco gave our family a different perspective.
Our story began when we lived in Hahn’s Peak. Our son Nate was just getting ready to start kindergarten. There was a new charter school opening in Clark. Steamboat Springs had some of the best-ranking schools in the state. Not to mention, we lived isolated and he needed the socialization.
We chose to send Nate to Strawberry Park Elementary School. He had a long ride — 7 miles to Clark and a long bus ride with the best bus driver in the world Betsy Zimmerman. Betsy is an avid Soroco fan, because her grandkids attend Soroco.
Strawberry Park was wonderful; Nate and his sister Shannon both attended.
Moving on to middle school. Both managed to do well and survive the drama middle school brings. They made friends and joined 4-H. In 4-H they met kids from across the county, including several from South Routt. Football and 4-H were where they felt they fit in.
Once into high school, the not wanting to go to school started. Nate swears one of his teachers did not know his name by the end of his freshman year. He had been asking to switch to Soroco, because of his 4-H friends and it being a smaller school.
Finally, after Jay Whaley, former 4-H Extension agent, started teaching the FFA agriculture program at Soroco, we went to visit. Nate never went back to Steamboat. His sister chose Soroco the next year for her high school career as well. They have both thrived in the Soroco school system.
The teachers are committed and dedicated to their students, just as Steamboat’s are. The smaller classes allow teachers to connect with the students. Even though the teachers have administrative tasks due to fewer personnel resources, they do take time for students.
Nate was recently awarded the American Degree in FFA at the National Convention in Louisville, Kentucky. Only a small percentage of members ever achieve this.
He is currently enrolled in college in an agricultural production program. Shannon is the president of the Soroco FFA Chapter, which has 45 members.
Members complete SAEs, which are supervised agricultural experiences. They learn how to run their own agricultural business and learn life-long skills such as welding, horticulture, soils, mechanics, basic plumbing, public speaking, parliamentary procedures, record keeping and others.
These kids graduate confident and prepared. The FFA motto is “Learning to do, Doing to learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.”
Besides having an outstanding agricultural program, the community welcomed us to the school — inviting us to sit with them at games and to participate in fundraising, which the extracurricular clubs do for local community members in need. The booster club invited us to participate in their chili cook-off fundraiser, too.
We, the whole family, became part of the community and the school, and we could not be happier with what it did for our family.
Thank you Soroco, the community of South Routt and, especially, the staff and teachers.
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