Ag Ed at Union County High: Preserving the Legacy

Union County High School agriscience and agriculture instructors John Fugate and Linda Baxter

John Fugate and Linda Baxter come from different backgrounds, but when it comes to agriculture education at Union County High School, their philosophy is the same. They want to prepare students for the reality of today's careers while preserving the rich legacy of Union County agriculture.

"We don't just grow plants and animals," said Fugate. "We grow kids."

Baxter is originally from Colorado, but she attended high school in California, and her family later moved to Memphis. She attended UT Knoxville for pre-vet and changed to agriculture education.

"I fell in love with Knoxville and never left," she said.

She started teaching at Campbell County High School in 1990, then spent five years at Clinton High before coming to Union County High in 1997.

Fugate describes himself as a hillbilly. He grew up in Claiborne County farming 1,000 acres with his family. He attended Tennessee Wesleyan, then transferred to UT Knoxville to study agriculture economics. After working in South Carolina with Southern States Farmers Co-op, he moved back home to be a full-time farmer. He got a teaching certificate and came on board at UCHS, where he's been teaching for 20 years.

The two teach different but complimentary sides of agriculture. Baxter teaches the basic agriscience course, plus concentrations in plant science, greenhouse production and even hydroponics. Fugate teaches agriculture mechanics classes, including small engine repair, welding and more. And the skills they learn don't just apply to agriculture. In the greenhouse, which is open to the public in the spring, students learn customer service, accounting and proper phone etiquette. Baxter said technology is "just a fact of life" for modern agriculture jobs, so computer skills, lab equipment, and even GPS, GIS and drones are included in the program at UCHS.

Fugate and Baxter also share leadership of the Horace Maynard Chapter of Future Farmers of America, a role that each sees as a sacred trust. The original charter from 1928 is preserved in Baxter's office, and some students are third or fourth generation in the program, learning public speaking, the value of community service, and gaining a wide variety of experience. FFA students are also active in the backpack program that sends food home with students who may not have meals at home. Horace Maynard FFA stores the food, packs the bags and distributes them to schools in Union County.

"We take it seriously," said Fugate. "FFA has been an integral part of teens' lives for a long time."

Both acknowledge that the face of agriculture has changed. There isn't as much production agriculture in Union County as there used to be, but students can use the program as a springboard into a variety of careers, like landscaping, lawn maintenance, equipment operation, welding and more. And there's always a need for more farmers.

"Two percent of our population feed 300 billion people," said Baxter. "And the majority of farmers are over 60, so we need kids to produce our food."

"The problems before these students in the future include being more efficient, more environmentally conscious," said Fugate. "We're trying to give them the skills to solve some of those problems. I feel like this program has been and will be very valuable in education."

Fruit sales to help support FFA projects are going on now. To purchase, speak to an FFA member or call the school at 865-992-0180. The UCHS greenhouse will open for sales April 1.

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Events

Wine and Wreaths

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00

Thursdays just got so much better!
Join us at The Winery every Thursday for
amazing drink specials and exciting activities.

In June, join us for a fun Wine and Wreaths event.
During this class, get ready for 4th of July by crafting a wreath while enjoying a glass of wine. Various ribbons are available so you can make the wreath your own. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as the glass of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Union County Board Of Education

Thursday, June 20, 2019 - 18:00
UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION

The next regular workshop and meeting of the Union County Board of Education will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. at Union County High School. The workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m. with the meeting immediately to follow.

REGULAR WORKSHOP UNION COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION THURSDAY, JUNE 20, 2019 6:00 p.m. Union County High School

Agenda

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

CEASE inc., Paint and Pour

Friday, June 28, 2019 - 18:30

CEASE, inc. will be hosting a Paint and Pour event at Seven Springs Winery at 6:00 PM on June 28th. Participants will take a painting class while sipping on wine. The cost of the ticket includes the painting class, all supplies needed for the class, and the first glass of wine. Tickets are on sale for $45.00. Tickets are limited, so get yours today! We're going to have a great time and this event benefits a great cause, providing assistance to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault! Call 865-745-3002, connect with CEASE inc.

Obituary

Helen Fousteen Bailey

Helen Fousteen Bailey-age 94 of Washburn went to be with the Lord Tuesday, June 18, 2019 at home. She was a member of Liberty Hill Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Victor Bailey; son, Charles L. Bailey; parents, Loren and Dollie Helton; brothers, Howard, Earl, Ralph and Billy Wayne Helton.

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd

Jenny Lou Holt Byrd, age 88, of Maynardville, TN passed away on Monday, June 17, 2019. She was a longtime member of Clear Springs Baptist Church. Jenny enjoyed scrapbooking, crocheting, and gardening. She is retired from K-Mart after 27 years. She is preceded in death by husband of 68 years, Charles Byrd; mother Grace Fortner Holt Chamberlain and father Clifford Holt.

Charles Edward Green

Charles Green – He often said, “Everybody wants to go to Heaven, but nobody wants to die.” And on June 15, 2019, Charles Edward Green, loving husband and father of two children, went to Heaven at the age of 70 in Maynardville. Charlie was born on January 15, 1949 in Kingsport, Tennessee to Roy and Willnette Green. In 1970 his son, Johnathon Edward was born. He married Kimberly (Kim) Jones 31 years ago and raised one son together, Samuel Roy. Charlie had many passions including motorcycles, 60’s & 70’s R&B music and hamburgers.

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers

Donna Jo (Chesney) Rogers-age 74 of Sharps Chapel passed away Saturday, June 15, 2019 at Claiborne Medical Center. She was preceded in death by husband, Marsillus Isaac (Skeeter) Rogers.

Survivors: son, Joe Rogers, daughter, Angela Buege; granddaughter, Kelly Buege; instant granddaughter, Jennifer Housewright.

Arrangements for a memorial service are pending at this time. Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville in charge.

David Wayne Tolliver

David Wayne Tolliver-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went to be with the Lord, Friday afternoon, June 14, 2019 at his home with his wife and family at his side. He was a member and Deacon of Leatherwood Baptist Church. Retired employee of Union County Highway Department and also had a love of farming, hunting and fishing. Preceded in death by parents, Andrew and Lillie Tolliver; parents-in-law, Bob and Ethel Buchanan; sister-in-law, Shirley Tolliver.

Tyler Wayne Atkins

Tyler Wayne Atkins-age 24 of Luttrell passed away Friday, June 14, 2019. He was preceded in death by mother, Misty Dawn (Nankervis) Atkins; brother, Matthew Atkins; grandfather, Jerry Nankervis; special grandmother, Bonnie DeVault.

Survivors: father, Chris Atkins; sister, Gracie Nankervis; grandparents, Gary and Phyllis Atkins; grandmother, Connie Condry; papaw, Jimmy DeVault; uncles, Jimmy (Julie) DeVault, Jr., Shawn and Shea Condry, Jerry and Cory Nankervis. Several cousins and other family members.

Audy B. Keck

Audy B. Keck-age 72 of Sharps Chapel went home to be with the Lord after a long battle with cancer Thursday evening, June 13, 2019 at his home. Audy had a testimony of faith in the Lord, Jesus and was of the Baptist belief. He was a member of the Union County Rescue Squad. Preceded in death by parents, Warmer and Linda Keck; brothers, W. T., Joe, Jimmy and Harley Keck; sister-in-law, Nancy Keck; brothers-in-law, J. B. Stansberry and Jim Hayes.

Dorothy "Dot" Knott

Dorothy “Dot” Knott began her new journey June 13, 2019 with family at her side; Leaving behind daughters, Virginia Smothers (Mark), Deborah Hill, Lisa Gerard (Jeremy), step-daughter Donna Fisher, treasured grandkids and great-grandkids, as well as, her beloved Rocky Hill Baptist Church family and many other special friends. Family will receive friends 5:00-7:00pm Monday, June 17, 2019, at Rocky Hill Baptist Church with service to follow at 7:00pm, Dr. Scott Whaley officiating. Family and friends will meet 10:45am Tuesday, June 18, 2019, at Rocky Hill Cemetery for an 11:00am interment.

Erwin Lynn Berry

Erwin Lynn Berry – age 64 of Sharps Chapel, went home to be with the Lord on Sunday, June 9, 2019. He was a member and deacon of Oak Grove Primitive Baptist Church. Erwin was an employee of Pilot Corporation for 38 years.

Eva Jean Lawson

Eva Jean Lawson – 59, born August 18, 1959 to Cecil and Thelma “Judy” Branham in Welch, West Virginia, passed away June 11, 2019 after a courageous battle with cancer. She married the love of her life, Roy E. Lawson in Monroe, Michigan on June 22, 1984. She was a nuclear security officer at Fermi II plant for 23 years and also a security officer at Monroe High School for 8 years.

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