Heritage High School offers an amazing agriculture program that is A-G (college entry requirement) approved which provides a pathway to the University of California and California State University college systems. The agricultural program program includes chemistry, biology, earth science, floral design, and leadership. The most impressive aspect of our agricultural program is the family environment that is nurtured by the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. At any given time, one can observe a group of Agricultural students, our “Ag kids” as we affectionately call them, walking in cowboy boots and displaying their competition belt buckles with pride.
Ag students take their role as future leaders seriously. They can always be found before and after school caring for their projects, making sure that pens are clean, well stocked with bedding, and that the animals have clean food and water daily. When HHS receives new enrollments, the parents and students can take a tour of the campus including the farm. HHS can always count on an Ag student to take the family on a tour of the various projects. They are so knowledgeable and proud of the work they, as well as others in the Ag family, and what they accomplish. Seeing teenagers work with their hands, talk with each other, and work with a smile and a purpose, is reassuring of our future.
An example of kindness and caring demonstrated by HHS Ag students involved a recent lunchtime activity. The school was playing music in the quad as several special needs students began dancing and laughing. A very small group of students began to make derogatory comments about the special needs students. Our Ag kids, understanding the importance of L.E.G.A.C.Y., the “L” standing for leadership, quickly stood up along with the whole lunch table and explained “we don’t use those words and phrases at Heritage High School.” School personnel saw the crowd gathering and rushed over but no intervention was necessary. Staff stood nearby and beamed proudly knowing that the Ag kids upheld the tradition of Leadership, Excellence, Generosity, Academics, Character, and opportunitY (LEGACY). Heritage High School is so grateful for the character instilled in these young people and proud that they stand up for those who can’t always stand up for themselves.
In the late 1990s there was a television show titled “Kids Say the Darndest Things”. Truer words were never spoken. At any given time on campus you can hear the most interesting conversations between young minds. Some conversations revolve around the current debates in politics, current events, or fashion. We like to think that as our student body learns more about the environment and our sustainability, they learn about social environments and our social sustainability and pass it on to others. This is why we were so impacted by the behaviors these young men and women displayed by caring for those who cannot care for themselves. That’s what you learn when you care for animals... and each other.