Agricultural program starts to grow


Maria Castillo

Senior Karina Tafolla stands beside Agriculture teacher Daniel Barrett while arranging roses for Valentine’s Day Grams. The students in Floriculture used techniques they’ve learned throughout the year to arrange the flowers in different shaped patterns. These bouquets were sold to staff and students.

The newly born agriculture education program has flourished since last year. With the partially constructed building on campus almost ready to be used next year, students and staff are more than excited to dig deep in this new program.

New ag teacher Daniel Barrett is more than happy to teach the classes. “I wanted the challenge not only to jump start an ag program but also to start a program in the heart of Stockton.” The program is categorized as a career technical education program. CTE programs have two pathways designed to direct students into potential career opportunities. On this campus the two pathways are the ag-earth science pathway and the ag-horticulture pathway.

This year Barrett teaches ag-earth science, ag-biology, and ag-floriculture tackling nearly all aspects of agriculture. These classes not only consist of making flower arrangements but educating the students on the different types of flowers they are using. When making the Valentine’s Day grams the students learned about the actual plants they were using.

Senior and president of the Ag Club Cheyanne Gaines spent the first semester discovering the different types of flowers. “We focused on what flowers were what, learning about plants like leather leaf and baby’s breath,” said Gaines. These were the plants paired with roses, put into arrangements, and prepped for delivery.

The new green house building being constructed right now has great potential for the future of the program. Funded by the CTE Incentive Grant, the project on campus has quite the blueprint. “Here it’s funded almost a one acre school-farm learning facility, with a 40×60 greenhouse. There’s going to be a half acre fruit trees and table grapes, almost a quarter of an acre of planter boxes, and there’s storage cooler for floral classes,” Barrett said.

When the project is complete the possibilities of the ag program will sky rocket. “If it was here this year it’d be so much easier for us,” Gaines said.

Valentine’s grams isn’t the only project for the program. Being a part of the program automatically makes students part of the ag-club. A requirement for being in the club/class is participating in Supervised ag Experience projects.

These projects vary from making different flower arrangements to raising animals for competitions at the fair. Currently, Barrett said, “We have some students signed up to take rabbits to the San Joaquin County ag show where they can sell them.”