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Students Gain Career Experience Hosting National Teach Ag Day Webcast

Guests packed into the Sabin-Schellenberg Career Technical Center’s television studio to participate in a live-streamed celebration of National Teach Ag Day on September 21. The event is held each year to promote the career of teaching agriculture within high schools across the country.

The National Association of Agricultural Educators (NAAE), based in Kentucky, wanted to highlight the North Clackamas School District’s Land Lab. The Land Lab provides high school students with hands-on agricultural experiences. NCSD's Agriculture Instructor Kathy Mayfield says these experiences have led many students into careers in farming and agriculture education.

The planning process for the webcast began in Spring 2023, when the NAAE approached Kathy about hosting the show in the Portland area.

North Clackamas School District's Land Lab

“While there are some urban [agriculture] programs, you can probably count them on your fingers in the country,” said Kathy.  “A lot of ag teachers are very skeptical of wanting to come teach in an urban area, so getting to highlight what we’re able to do in this school district in teaching ag here was pretty cool.” 

Students in the broadcasting and journalism program, led by Deb Barnes, organized the webcast portion of the celebration. Barnes said these advanced students are comfortable using the studio, and were excited for this real-world opportunity. 

Ruby Kara, a senior from Milwaukie Academy of the Arts (MAA), was the executive producer and technical director of the show. She has been in the broadcasting program at Sabin-Schellenberg for three years. Ruby says she’s done plenty of studio productions with her class in the past, but this time she was organizing a live production with much higher stakes.

Once Ruby had a vision for the show, she organized her crew members, which were fellow broadcasting and advanced journalism students. The roles were assigned on a volunteer basis, and Ruby made sure they were trained and comfortable using the equipment.

On the day of the show, the student-led production team worked together with all of the guests to put on a successful live webcast. 

“I think what worked the best was the communication between all of us which is really important when you’re running a film crew,” said Ruby.

Ruby added she and her fellow crew members can easily apply this experience  to their future career. The live webcast even earned a certification from the Oregon Association of Broadcasters. 

Group of people cheering in front of green screen.

 “It was really cool to be considered as more of an equal to these people, and they were trusting us with running their show,” Ruby said.  “We’re just high school students so it made a lot of us feel all grown up.”

“The show was incredible,” Deb said. “ I just loved the energy of all the folks that were on the set.”

After high school, Ruby wants to go into the film industry creating documentaries while traveling, adding she is grateful for the broadcasting program at Sabin-Schellenberg for letting her pursue her career interests.

 “I don’t think people have access to the resources we do here. It’s an incredible studio and incredible program,” Ruby said.

Watch the teach ag day webcast here