Group requests information on what it would take to have these programs at once again

Dozens of students, parents and community members attended last week's Estacada School Board meeting to advocate re-establishing agriculture and FFA programs at the high school.

"It comes up often in 4-H families that we'd love to have an agriculture and FFA program," said Nichole Adamson during the meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12. "It's not just a cow and a plow. There are many outdoor activities and careers."

Initially known as Future Farmers of America, FFA changed its name to reflect the growing diversity of the agriculture industry. The organization focuses on leadership, personal growth and career success through agriculture education.

In the Estacada area, 165 youths are enrolled in 4-H programs, which connect participants with hands-on projects in agriculture, health, science and citizenship, among other areas.

"This could add up to quite a few high school students to participate (in FFA and agricultural programs)," Adamson added.

The group requested that they receive information on what it would take to establish the programs.

"I will make sure to get you the answers," Estacada School District Superintendent Ryan Carpenter said.

Estacada High School's agriculture program had been revived three years ago, but was removed from course offerings because of a lack of student interest at the time.

Estacada School Board Chair Ben Wheeler noted, "There's obviously an interest in it. We owe it to them to explore the next avenues."

In other news from the school board meeting:

Carpenter said he and other city leaders had met with Sandy Police Chief Ernie Roberts to ask if current Estacada School Resource Officer William Wetherbee could continue working in the position once the city's contract with the department ends in October. Carpenter noted that they had not yet received a formal answer, but acknowledged that the Estacada community wants a uniformed officer for the schools. Clackamas County officials have estimated that there would be a minimum of an eight month delay in providing a resource officer because of a lack of staffing. "I don't think we want to see a gap of a day," said school board member Joe Behrman.

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