ORLANDO, Fla. – Colonial High School’s AgriScience program just received a huge honor the National Future Farmers of America after being awarded the Model of Excellence Award.
That places the program in the top 0.1% of programs nationwide. Colonial High School is the Animal Sciences magnet for all of Orange County. About 800 students are enrolled in the program.
“It’s one of those honors that you know exists, but you never actually know anyone who actually receives it because it is so grand,” said FFA sponsor and AgriScience teacher Caela Paioff.
Paioff said the program gives students hands-on experience.
“They’re able to raise animals right here on our campus and at our homes that are part of our curriculum and our courses,” she said.
Students raise animals with the goal of taking them to the state fair to be sold later this month. Senior Athena Soto is raising two goats and a boar.
“I never saw a tiny person like me raising a huge animal like that and just learning the different experiences I can face with that, it’s amazing,” she said.
Soto plans to major in Animal Sciences in college, but Paioff says the program really is for everyone.
“One of the driving forces of our program is not just career placement, but an appreciation for the industry that is agriculture. We hope that our students walk out of here knowing where their food comes from and respecting the individuals that work every day tirelessly to make sure we hve food and clothing and building structure materials in an ever more difficult environment to do that,” she said.
Because Colonial’s program is a magnet for the county, students from anywhere in Orange County can apply. The deadline to apply is Feb. 15, through Orange County Public School School Choice website.