Parker County Today PCT June 2018 - Page 94

Continued from page 59 similar program.”  Brent Wicker, a native of Millsap, began teaching Agriculture Technology at Peaster High School 16 years ago. Wicker decided to become an Ag teacher largely thanks to the impact that his Ag teachers had on his life. “My Ag teachers had a big influence on me,” Wicker said. “At first I was going to be a vet. After taking several of those math tests, I changed my mind … I decided to try the Ag ed route. I wasn’t 100 percent sure I wanted to teach Ag until I did my student teaching at Jacksboro.” Unlike many teaching jobs, Wicker’s career delivers a different experience each day. It’s what he likes best about his job.  “If you get bored with what you’re doing, all you have to do is switch gears,” he said. “That’s the cool thing about Ag, you can always switch up because you always have different teams working on different projects and new students coming in all the time, so you never get stuck in a rut.” That, along with seeing former students come back to see their former Ag teacher, is what he likes best. “They come back to town and stop and say, ‘Hi,’ and let me know how they’re doing,” Wicker said. “I’ve been teaching long enough now that I’m seeing some of my former students drop in and say, ‘Hi,’ after they drop their kids off at school. That’s always fun, and you form these relationships as students here, while they’re here, when 92 they’re in your class. Then, later they become friends. I’ve been in the weddings of a couple of them.” Favorite success stories? “There’s several of them that didn’t do all that well up in the main building. Teachers couldn’t reach them … but then they came here … and here they shined. This is where they wanted to be and they were successful here, some of my hardest-working, fastest-learning students. They go out and are successful in the business world. I think this might be the reason why a lot of them stay in school.” There’s a row of what looks like fire pits in one room. When asked about them, Wicker said, “I’ve got about 40 sophomores, beginning welders. We’ve got concrete, plumbing, electricity, using a cutting torch, basic safety and for the last several weeks they’ve been on welding. We give them a project so that they can use the skills that they learned on the bench and we teamed them up, three or four of them, and they’ll build these cookers. Some will go to mom and dad, some to the grandparents, and they pay for the materials. A few of them, the teachers pay for the material and we auction them off and use the money for the program. It’s a program that is near and dear to the hearts of people in the community.” What accounts for the enthusiasm that members of the community show for the program? “I know why I support it,” Martin said. “It’s because it’s a program like this one that helped old codgers like me to get their start. A lot of my success in life came from things I learned as a student in a program like this.” A $5.95-million bond proposal passed this year, garnering 75 percent of the voters casting their votes in favor of the package. Of that money, $200,000 is desig- nated to help bring the Ag Science department from a very good program to one that boasts state-of-the-art tech- nology. “The community has been tremendously support- ive of this program. We’ve worked real hard to breed success into this program,” Wicker said. “Kids want to be involved with a winner. This program is a winner.”