Award for agribusiness curriculum acknowledged by state and national agricultural education organizations
Sept. 4, 2009
HARRISBURG – Two years ago HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, added an agribusiness component to its College in the High School program. Today, that program has captured the attention of both the state and national associations of agricultural educators, awarding HACC with the Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program award.
HACC was recognized because the Agribusiness College in the High School program is more than classroom performance. The curriculum is the result of collaborative efforts from HACC, high school teachers and administrators, food and agribusiness industries and community leaders who have responded with curriculum input and scholarship funds.
“What is so unique about our program is how the many different segments have come together for this program and for the students,” said Al Wenger, agribusiness program coordinator and instructor for HACC. “Educators have expanded their teaching using HACC’s blended approach to delivering instruction – traditional classroom lectures mixed with online learning and field experiences like tours, FFA contests and outreach. Teachers also are included in the crucial development of the curriculum and outcomes. We wouldn’t be able to offer such a wide range without the contributions of industry, community and education together.”
To help students into the program, HACC has raised close to $75,000 in scholarships, including a significant grant from the Lancaster County Commissioners.
Last year, 10 teachers from 10 central Pennsylvania school districts served as adjunct instructors, teaching three-credit, college-level agribusiness courses in their respective schools, including:
  • Christine Williams of the Tulpehocken School District in Bethel, Berks County.
  • Ed Parsons of the Chambersburg School District in Franklin County.
  • Robert B. Lauffer of the Eastern Lancaster County School District in New Holland; Deb Seibert of the Manheim Central School District; Mark Anderson of the Elizabethtown School District; and Carol Fay of the Penn Manor School District in Millersville all in Lancaster County.
  •  Ashley Marcantino of the Northern Lebanon School District in Fredericksburg, Lebanon County.
  • Krista Pontius, Greenwood School District in Millerstown and Merril Brofee, West Perry School District, both in Perry County.
  • Leroy Dreibelbis of the Midd-West School District in Middleburg, Snyder County.
 This year Big Spring School District in Newville, Cumberland County, joins the group.
High school students pay $50 for each college course, gaining credits that transfer to most community and four-year institutions. They are registered as HACC students, with the same access to campus services as other HACC students, including tutoring, libraries and the gymnasium. 
Students in the agribusiness component acquire a solid foundation for planning a career in the industry, which encompasses the wide range of jobs considered “from farm to fork” or the agricultural processes to national and global markets. Graduates move on to grow family businesses or may carry on at Penn State or Delaware Valley College.
The National Association of Agricultural Educators will present the Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program award to Al Wenger for HACC at the November conference in Memphis. The award is sponsored by Toyota and comes with a two-year lease on a Toyota Tundra.
The NAAE advances agricultural education, promotes the professional interests and growth of agriculture teachers and prepares students who have a desire to teach agriculture. It monitors governmental affairs affecting agricultural education and assists in the development of priorities and strategies to effect federal legislation. More than 7,600 agricultural educators are members of the NAAE.
HACC offers a number of concurrent enrollment programs for qualified high school students in its College in the High School program. They attend college-level courses at their high school or technical school during the regular school day. Students also may choose to take courses on a HACC campus or online through the Virtual Campus. Both college credit and high school credit are awarded, so taking a college course may also count toward high school graduation. For more information, contact Ross Berger, director of secondary partnerships, 780-2388 or e-mail at
Please click the links below to share the latest #HACCnews on YOUR social media sites.