Over 400 high school students from the state of Mississippi and surrounding Louisiana parishes attended the School of Agriculture, Research, Extension, and Applied Sciences (AREAS) Ag High School Day held April 28, 2016 according to Casnacita Gray, student services coordinator.

Junior and senior high school students were invited to come to the Lorman campus and get a feel of what the Departments of Agriculture, Human Sciences, and Advanced Technologies, and the Center for Biotechnology offer to the students.

Gray said, “This open house is designed to help inspire students to focus and make the connection between academics and career preparation as well as highlight the many opportunities available in agriculture, human sciences, biotechnology, and advanced technologies.”

The program featured various exhibits, workshops and displays. Staff from the Office of Admissions was on-hand to share admission requirements with the students.

The School of AREAS was well represented by the Animal Science Program, Ag Education, Agri-business Management, Plant and Soil Sciences, Natural Resources, Environmental Science and the Center for Biotechnology. Administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumnus Marcus Griffin, soil conservationist, United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA/NRCS), Newkirk, Oklahoma were available to answer questions.

Dr. Wesley Whittaker, assistant dean for academics and professor, told students that upon leaving, they should “have a very positive perspective as to what agriculture really is.” He also added that agriculture would give them all of the resources they will ever need to build their capacity in terms of leadership and finding a career to always be proud of.

Arthur Owens, director of the Child Development Laboratory Center in the Department of Human Sciences, said, “I think Ag Day is helpful to the students because they can see things that they are interested in and discover what it is they want to major in upon entering college.”

Many students, teachers, and chaperones were excited to learn more about agriculture at Alcorn.

Ezekial King, a senior from Jefferson County High School, said, “This day is going really well. I am thinking about coming here and majoring in agriculture.”

Henrietta J. Cadney, career tech counselor, Jefferson County High School, said. “This event is very informative. The children are exposed to information that they wouldn’t normally get. It was very beneficial for them to attend. Hopefully, we can send some to Alcorn!”

After visiting the School of AREAS meat goat facility, the participants were treated to lunch and were entertained by Alcorn’s Greek organizations in the E. E. Simmons Gymnasium. At the conclusion of the day’s events, visitors were given a tour of the Lorman campus.

“Ag High School Day gave students the opportunity to see, hear, and touch examples of the concepts many of them study in school,” said Gray.

Quoting the book “Holistic Management” by Allan Savory, president and co-founder of the Savory Institute, Gray said, “Agriculture is not crop production as popular belief holds – it’s the production of food and fiber from the world’s land and waters. Without agriculture it is not possible to have a city, stock market, banks, university, church or army. Agriculture is the foundation of civilization and any stable economy.”

She further added, “Ag High School Day is our way of getting students to realize there is more to agriculture than just farming,” she said. “It is our way of showing them there are lucrative careers and opportunities available in agriculture. After all, everything leads back to agriculture!”

For more information on the School of AREAS, or to request a tour of the School, contact Casnacita S. Gray, student services coordinator, at 601-877-6552 or [email protected].

Student Media Intern Renita Lacy, contributed to this story.