McMurray Makes an Impact in Ag


Landri Sagebiel

Many in the world are puzzled about where our food supply comes from and why when we hear of starving people in American, we can’t just “give out” food. A basic understanding of our world and how we fuel it can be offered in any high school through the FFA Principles of Agriculture class. But why are these classes so important and why does it take a special teacher to teach it?

These special teachers are called ag supervisors. Their job is to educate and inform high school students on what is going on in the ag industry and the history of agriculture going all the way back to when the FFA was first established. They pull students in and show them that there is a place for everyone no matter their interests. “My freshman year of high school I took theater,” FHS ag supervisor Erica McMurray said. “They didn’t have room in the theater, so I ended up being stuck in Principles of Ag class.” McMurray graduated from La Vernia High School where she first fell into an ag class despite having no previous history with any sort of agricultural background.

“My ag teacher, Mr. Kevin Sells, first told me he wanted to know three things,” McMurray said. “Your name, your grade and what your parents did for a living. When I told him about me making all A’s, he put me on quiz team.” The quiz team along with many other speaking events like public relations, chapter conducting, and skills team prepare high schoolers for the outside world with communication and public speaking skills. “I kind of knew that I wanted to be a teacher after high school,” McMurray said. “I didn’t know which direction that I wanted to go, and I guess my junior and senior year of high school, I started really shadowing my female ag teacher, and I like to compete so I figured that it would be a good spot for me.”

FFA has moved away from the idea of just being farmers and ranchers to now including a wide variety of people and cultures to create a more diversified organization. Many ag advisers are currently trying to get more kids involved in activities.  “I don’t really have a social life; I’m just kidding,” McMurray laughed. “I don’t know if it kind of is my life. It’s not just like a job. It has to be a hobby in order to be good at it, so that’s what I spend most of my time doing – teaching ag.”

Not only are these teachers having to work hands-on with the students, they are also required to put in a lot of overtime to meet demands.“One year I kept track of all of my hours, and I was well over 250 hours without the summer included in overtime,” McMurray said. “I don’t do that anymore because it scares me the number of hours I work.”

Despite all of the challenges and struggles these hard-working individuals face, they always do it with a smile on their face knowing that they are touching students’ hearts every day. “I think that I like teaching so much because I like relationships with people, and I think that it’s really interesting,” McMurray said. “I like seeing you succeed and win and do well and go on to do big things.”