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Blending lessons with life skills

Blending lessons with life skills

As an NCTA student, Christopher Brooks of North Platte helped with fall cleanup near the Veterinary Technology building in October 2019. Students frequently volunteer for community service at NCTA and around Curtis. (Crawford photo / NCTA News)
As an NCTA student, Christopher Brooks of North Platte helped with fall cleanup near the Veterinary Technology building in October 2019. Students frequently volunteer for community service at NCTA and around Curtis. (Crawford photo / NCTA News)

NCTA Dean’s Message by Larry Gossen, Ph.D.

One may think our college courses at the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture are primarily crops and cattle, horses and horticulture, or engines and equines.

That is our bread and butter so to speak.

Preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology, and related industries is emphasized in our mission statement.

Every Aggie student on campus shares a responsibility in serving others. In our small town of Curtis and the surrounding areas of Frontier County, numerous opportunities exist for community service.

Community volunteers

NCTA Aggie clubs, teams and organizations build service into their goals. Students develop leadership, communication, unity, respect for all, integrity, commitment, dedication, and personal responsibility.

A skilled, well-rounded graduate of NCTA is well prepared for entering the workforce. Here in Curtis and in their hometowns, students interact with and learn from role models and mentors.

Look around at the many individuals serving on school boards, as officers and leaders with the chamber of commerce or economic development entities, and in youth programs of 4-H and FFA.

Volunteers on the fire department, emergency responders with the ambulance, those who coordinate the mobile food bank or fundraising drives. Dedicated servants with the senior center, churches, and medical providers.

Human Relations

Professor Eric Reed teaches a Human Relations course in our General Education program. Students who volunteer receive credit for providing community service. They learn communication and organizational skills as they work in small groups, pairs, or individually on various projects they initiate.

Last week, some young men hosted a bingo session at the Curtis Senior Center. This Friday, from 9:30-11 a.m., a bake sale for a childcare center will be in the mall near the post office. Also, Friday, at 4:30 p.m., the public is invited to the NCTA Education Center auditorium for a film and discussion about mental health awareness, plus social time during and after the film.

Next week student-planned events include a public workshop on genealogy, a golf tourney for students, a Truck and Car show and perhaps a 5K run on campus. Stay tuned for more details.

For each event, Dr. Reed meets with the students to discuss their assignment and review a checklist:

  • Do I need to reserve this area—who do I talk to?
  • What equipment do I need? Is that equipment available? From whom? What does it cost?
  • Where will I get my prizes? How will I pay for them?
  • Where will I get the snacks that I said will be there? Who will make them? What will they be?
  • How do I communicate this event so people show up? Did I put all the necessary information on my flyer or news release?

Grading is based on their initiative plus the interpersonal skills used to coordinate and conduct the event. I applaud each student as some step far out of their comfort zone to improve their skills. These are skills which will last a lifetime.

We welcome visitors to campus, and to join our Aggie students in the activities they have planned. Enjoy this change of seasons as Fall is clearly in the air.

Aggie Events:

Oct. 15:  Community bake sale, 9:30-11 a.m., Curtis Mall (public)

Oct. 15:  Friday Film, Mental Health Reception, 4:30 p.m. (Open to public)

Oct. 15-17: Ranch Horse Team to Ft. Collins for CSU Jubilee 

Oct. 19:  NCTA Round Robin Team Roping, 6:30 p.m., Mill Park (public)

Oct. 20:  Student Golf Tourney (NCTA, only)

Oct. 20:  Getting to Know your Roots, 7 p.m., Ed Center (public)

Oct. 23: Shotgun Sports Team, Lincoln, Wayne State meet

Oct. 25:  Protect the Harvest, Trent Loos, 6 p.m., Ed Center (public)

Oct. 30: Truck and Car Show, 7 p.m. – open to public (public)

Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries. NCTA is known for its affordable tuition, high job-placement rate for its graduates, and for the success of student teams in competitive activities including crops judging, ranch horse events, livestock judging, shotgun sports, stock dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best two-year schools in the nation.

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