Among the Career and Technical Education programs at Central, you will find a strong set of AFNR courses, all helping students build valuable skills.  What does “AFNR” stand for anyway?  It is Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resources, or Ag Education.  Since February was CTE Month, it’s a great time to recognize these opportunities.  Both Patric Pehrson and Jim Mesik are excited to be able to have the privilege of teaching students in these classes.

During the 2021-2022 year, students have had many AFNR classes to choose from when selecting elective classes.  Topics include food science, woodworking, small engines, welding, construction, animal science, wildlife conservation, and more.  The underlying goal of each class is to prepare students for possible careers in fields related to these class subjects.  Students get to experience substantial hands-on learning, whether in a kitchen, classroom, or one of the school’s shops.  These are skills that are in great demand locally.  Students are able to take these courses, learn how to perform various technical tasks, and then pursue training and employment.  This is a great time for today’s students as several local employers are willing to invest in their future by helping to cover costs of technical college programs.

Field trips and guest speakers are also a major part of several AFNR classes.  Nearly all courses in the department include a trip to a local employer for a tour and/or guest speakers coming to the classroom to share valuable experiences with students.  Nearly all ag students took part in tours of local manufacturing companies back in October.  This included tours of facilities for Bongards Creameries, Storms Welding, Yaeger Machine, and Sackett-Waconia Manufacturing.  Woods students have toured Modern Design in Cologne.  The Animal Science class toured Dreier Dairy Farm outside of Norwood and Westwood Horse Farm in Plato.  Small Engines students have gone to Heartland Corn (ethanol plant in Winthrop) and Lano Equipment of Norwood.  In addition to these experiences, the Wildlife Conservation class recently hosted two representatives from the Department of Natural Resources.  Plans are underway to visit the wildlife preserve in Glencoe and coordinate educational experiences with local conservationists at the habitat restoration land near Tiger Lake.

Whether students end up framing a wall, running a board through the table saw, evaluating the nutrients of a meal they have cooked, welding two pieces of steel together, observing wildlife in a local wetland, or diagnosing an engine performance problem, countless students are making the most of their hands-on learning opportunities at Central.