Wicomico Schools' Success Stories from Horticulture Program
Parkside CTE Horticulture Seniors Shine as JrMANRRS Ambassadors, Delegates to 2016 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium
Posted on 10/03/2016
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Students in the Horticulture Management Program at the Parkside High School Department of Career & Technology Education (CTE) have earned themselves the chance to lead and learn on the local, regional and national levels as Junior MANRRS Ambassadors and delegates to the 2016 Borlaug Dialogue International Symposium.

Through a collaborative partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore School of Agricultural and Natural Sciences and the Crop Science division of Bayer, Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS) selected 16 students from Maryland as Junior MANRRS Ambassadors. Two of those students attend Parkside CTE: Brittany Briddell and Logan Dennis, both seniors who also attend Parkside High. (The other 14 students attend schools on the western shore.)

These students had a waived registration fee to attend the JrMANRRS Leadership Institute at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore Sept. 23-25, where they were recognized for their efforts. The 16 JrMANRRS ambassadors will also visit the new African American History Museum in Washington DC in early October. Students will have the opportunity to interact with Bayer employees and UMES MANRRS members during this trip and gain valuable insight on opportunities in agriculture, natural resources and related STEM disciplines. This year they will also participate in the JrMANRRS National Essay Contest and the inaugural World Food Prize-Maryland Youth Institute.

“These two Parkside CTE Horticulture students had an awesome weekend at UMES attending the 3rd annual JrMANRRS state convention,” said Jerry Kelley, Horticulture instructor. “Students had opportunities for networking and agriculture-related workshops. And there was lots of good news: Omariah Estrada, our recent graduate and UMES student, was awarded the Maryland Farm Credit $1,000 JrMANRRS scholarship.” Kelley was grateful to receive recognition as the JrMANRRS Advisor of the Year.

That’s not all of the good news from Wicomico’s Horticulture Management Program. Seniors Logan Dennis and Layla Renshaw have been selected as Borlaug Scholars and student delegates to the Global Youth Institute of the World Food Prize in Des Moines, Iowa Oct. 12-14. These Parkside seniors will represent the State of Maryland at this prestigious conference as two of the top 200 students from around the world. Students will attend from 30 U.S. states and territories and seven other countries: Canada, China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Philippines and Tunisia. 

“Our students have shown that they are among the best in the world when it comes to research, and we’re delighted that they have given themselves this opportunity to learn from top people in the field and to network with business, government and student leaders from around the world,” Kelley said.

The Parkside CTE students received overwhelmingly positive comments from university faculty, business and community leaders on their nominating research. Logan Dennis researched sanitation solutions in Namibia. Layla Renshaw researched nutrition realities and solutions in Ethiopia. Logan and Layla will present and discuss their findings during symposium discussions with global leaders in science, industry, policy and students from around the world. Students will have opportunity to interact with Nobel and World Food Prize Laureates during this three-day event.

The Horticulture Management Program at Parkside CTE has grown some great success stories in recent years:

  • During the summer of 2016, recent graduate Gabrielle Morris had a paid internship as a Wallace Carver Fellow in the United States Department of Agriculture Summer Research Program. She was at the Agricultural Research Service at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, working in the field, greenhouses and lab studying turf grasses for drought and salt tolerance. This fall she is attending UMES to study plant and soil science.
  • Last December, JrMANRRS students Morris and Janelle Stevenson presented at the White House on Jr. MANRRS (in collaboration with the collegiate MANRRS chapter of University of Maryland Eastern Shore) as well as Project Localize and the World Food Prize Global Youth Institute. They were part of “Raising the Profile of Agriculture,” sponsored by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency.
  • In 2014, Parkside CTE/Wicomico High junior Dayquan Williams earned a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records by planting 2,122 bedding plants in 52:21 minutes, breaking the previous world record of 2,021 plants in one hour.
  • Parkside CTE Horticulture was one of five high school programs selected from across the country to participate in a unique initiative called “Project Localize.” Project Localize is a project-based/ place-based student investigation of local food producers through the lens of sustainability. Students connect instruction with visits to local growers and document investigation through interviews and creation of graphic essays. Brian Colliton was recognized as the 2015-16 Maryland Society of Educational Technology student winner in the graphics division for his photographic and graphics work on this project.
  • The Horticulture Management Program at Parkside CTE operates the A+ Garden Center to sell the plants it grows. The A+ Garden Centre has been designated as a Proven Winners Garden Center and an All American Select Display Garden, opening up extensive opportunities for testing and marketing new products.