(Williamstown, ON) – Char-Lan District High School‘s annual Drive Your Tractor to School Day not only marked another successful year of celebrating the community’s rich agricultural heritage, but also served as the official kickoff for the Agriculture Specialist High Skills Major (Ag SHSM) program for the academic year. This tradition, which began in 2016, has grown to become an integral part of the school’s commitment to fostering a strong connection between agriculture and the local community.
The event, held Friday, Sept. 15, featured an impressive display of 25 pieces of farm equipment, driven to school by staff, students and community members. The machines filled the school’s front parking lot and students from Char-Lan and neighbouring Williamstown Public School had the opportunity to walk through and admire the machines.
“Not everyone gets to see farming equipment every day. It’s a great way to showcase what our local farmers do,” says Maggie Fraser, a Grade 10 student.
“It’s an awesome experience to have a peek at what farming looks like for different local farmers,” adds Josh Wells, a Grade 11 student who works and lives on his family farm, Charlottengro.
“This event is great because it unites the Glengarry farming community and shows our pride in agriculture,” says Bryce Currier, also in Grade 11 and a co-worker at Charlottengro.
Sherry MacLachlan, Office Assistant, who owns and operates Glen Ayr Farm with her husband, spearheaded the planning of the event alongside Ag SHSM leads Francis Oliveira and Darrell McDonell.
“We have an important role in educating the next generation about the positive impacts of farming and the trades in the community,” says MacLachlan. “Our area thrives because of our local businesses and jobs.”
“The SHSM program is not just about agriculture, it’s about introducing students to the world of trades and providing them with skills that are essential for a wide range of career paths. Trades are the backbone of our economy, and it’s crucial that our students can explore and develop expertise in these fields,” adds McDonell.
The Char-Lan Ag SHSM program is designed to provide Grade 11 and 12 students with specialized knowledge and hands-on experience in the field of agriculture. Upon successful completion, students will receive a red seal on their diploma, signifying their expertise in this important industry.
“This program is an opportunity for our students to delve deep into the world of agriculture. It not only equips them with practical skills but also opens doors to exciting career paths in the agricultural sector,” explains Principal Trevor Wheeler.
The Ag SHSM group has a planned trip to the Morrisburg Training Institute in late October, where students will have the chance to tour the facility and even use heavy machine simulators.