by George J Elbaum
Norfolk County Agricultural High School is a public high school with enrollment of over 500 students from Norfolk County, Massachusetts, and many out-of-county towns. The school is situated on 365 acres in Walpole and offers specialty training to students who are interested in Animal and Marine Science, Plant Science, Environmental Science, and related Mechanical Technology. Students attend vocational and academic classes every day. Grade 9 students explore all programs during their Freshman year, Grade 10 students can narrow their interests during their Sophomore year, and Grade 11 students choose their major prior to the beginning of their Junior year, completing major requirements until graduation. About 80% of students attend a 2 or 4-year college, and others go to work in many of the fields they studied during their time at the Aggie.
The school’s academic studies include English Language Arts, Social Studies, Sciences and Mathematics. As part of Social Studies, teacher Wendy Harlow (who organized my visit) teaches civil rights, Holocaust and Human Behavior, and Genocide in the Modern World. Her students learn to take their civic responsibility seriously, and last year they started their own support effort for transgender rights, per the link below: http://walpole.wickedlocal.com/news/20160101/students-say-not-in-our-school. My talk was attended by the entire Freshman class, Seniors in the Facing History elective, plus teachers Wendy Harlow, Brian Kelly, Sam Stupak, Tara McFarland, Mike Ryan, Aaron Chernisky, Stephanie Russo, Amanda Camara, Andrew Davis, Lauren Zysk, Lisa Garrett, Karl Roos, Lauren Zysk, Amber Hall, Katelyn Raftery, Leah Barton, Katie Martin, Dr. Eileen Czyrklis, and librarian Katrina Elich, as well as guidance counselor Joe Huff, assistant principal Sean Crowley, and principal Michael Cournoyer.
My visit was arranged by Judi Bohn, Special Projects Coordinator for Facing History and Ourselves, and for our arrival Wendy Harlow and the English department prepared a “welcome committee” of four students who escorted us to the auditorium and jointly introduced me reading a brief synopsis of my subject and background (see photo below). It was a very warm welcome, and much appreciated.