Teacher Educator Gary Straquadine Receives Utah FFA's Distinguished Service Award
By Lynnette Harris |
American historian Henry B. Adams said, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." In that context, Professor Gary Straquadine’s work has and will continue to influence people for generations.
Straquadine, Utah State University associate vice president for career and technical education, began his career as a high school teacher and then became a teacher of future teachers. His impact on agricultural education was recently celebrated as Straquadine received the Utah FFA Association’s 2022 Distinguished Service Award, the association’s highest honor.
Utah State Office of Education Agriculture Specialist William Deimler said, “Gary Straquadine is agricultural education in Utah. His 20-plus years as a teacher educator at USU have made an impression on the agricultural education profession in Utah that will be seen for many years.”
In presenting the award at the Utah FFA Convention, Deimler pointed out that many teachers at the conference were either taught directly by Straquadine or had been in classes taught by his former students. Having been a leader in agricultural education in Utah for more than 34 years, Straquadine has participated at every level of the profession, visited schools, teachers and student teachers across the state, “and eaten countless lunches in school cafeterias,” Deimler added.
Straquadine graduated from New Mexico State University with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural education, taught in North Dakota, and later served as the state’s assistant supervisor for agricultural education. He returned to NMSU to complete a master’s degree and then earned a Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. He joined the faculty at USU, where he was named Teacher of the Year three times in what was then the College of Agriculture. He was also named the college’s Advisor of the Year in the days before there was a team of professional advisors in the college. Most recently, he was named the 2020 College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences’ Distinguished Professor of the Year.
Straquadine is a former head of USU’s Department of Agricultural Systems, Technology & Education and has served in several administrative positions at USU Eastern at the Price campus. Deimler noted that one of Straquadine’s last projects before moving on to phased retirement was working with administrators at Green River High School to start an agricultural education program there.
While FFA originally stood for Future Farmers of America, the organization’s goals reach beyond teaching and providing experiences for students who want to become production farmers. The FFA’s goals and curriculum of agricultural education are focused on developing applied science, business, and leadership skills and knowledge.
“Everyone who comes into contact with Gary comes away from that experience uplifted and edified,” Deimler said in presenting the award. “Utah agricultural and career education and FFA owe you more than this simple award can repay. But it is the highest honor that Utah FFA can give to those who selflessly earn it.”
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