Student essay earns honor for Benton teacher
Published June 2011 Voice
Doug McCracken has inspired a lot of students during his 21 years as a teacher.
The agricultural sciences teacher at Benton High School in Columbia County is heavily involved in the school’s Future Farmers of America program, which means he spends a lot of extra time with students outside the classroom. But along with planting, harvesting, animal care, and other aspects of agriculture, McCracken also teaches his students about social responsibility and consciousness.
An example of that was taking students to Louisiana to help rebuild houses following Hurricane Katrina.
One student in particular, senior Aaron Yustat, has been so inspired by McCracken—he credits the teacher as the reason he is going to study animal sciences at Penn State University—he put it down on paper.
The student’s words and McCracken’s work impressed the judges for the “Great Teachers 2011 Essay Contest’’ sponsored by WVIA public television in Pittston.
McCracken received a plaque and appeared on a special “Scholastic Night’’ the station aired last month.
“I was honored and flattered,’’ McCracken said. “But there are a lot of good teachers out there.’’
In his essay, Yustat wrote: “Mr. McCracken is one of those teachers to whom you can go to anytime and talk to about anything at any time of the day. He helped me realize that I could make it in college and I could do whatever I dreamed of doing.’’