CLEMSON — A Chesterfield County student was among 41 high school juniors and seniors who took a break from their summer vacations to prepare for their futures at the South Carolina Commissioner’s School for Agriculture.
Kaytlynn Simmons of Hartsville joined students from South Carolina, Texas, New York, Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina attending the summer academic program July 18-24 at Clemson University.
The SCCSA is a premier summer program that exposes students to college majors and potential careers in agriculture and natural resources. Throughout the week, students took part in academic projects, field tours and laboratory exercises, all while gaining skills in leadership and professional development.
“In order to maintain agriculture and forestry as the combined No. 1 industry in our state, it is critical to develop the next generation of agricultural leaders,” South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers said. “Having operated SCCSA for 12 years, we have found that this program is a great way to inspire college-bound students to choose careers in agriculture that will grow the industry and meet the needs of the future.”
The program was started in 2004 by Clemson University Cooperative Extension Director Tom Dobbins. More than 425 students have graduated. The South Carolina Commissioner’s School for Agriculture is a partnership between the S.C. Department of Agriculture and Clemson’s College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences.
“I am thankful to Commissioner Weathers for supporting the SCCSA for all these years,” Dobbins said. “The school is an integral part of Clemson’s commitment to producing the next generation of leaders in South Carolina’s No. 1 industry of agribusiness. It’s always exciting to see another accomplished group of young people experience the array of career and educational opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and life sciences.”
Each year, an elite group of participants is selected to receive the Dobbins Founder Award based on their involvement, character and enthusiasm throughout the week. The 2015 Dobbins Founder Award recipients are: Austin Cathcart (Irmo), Julianna Corbin (Brunson), Ben Hayt (Port Washington, New York), Joey McCannon (Pendleton), Hudson Orders (Moore), McKenzie Sanders (Barnwell) and Caroline Sharpe (Hilda).
Katie Black works in communications for Clemson University.