The Calvert, Texas Independent School District senior class of 2011 will pack their bags this month for a trip to Washington, D.C., to visit the U.S. Department of Agriculture thanks to the Falls County Farm Service Agency and a generous sponsorship by a local bank.
“Words will never be able to express how fortunate and excited we are to be given this opportunity,” said Shameka Grimes, senior class president and student council vice president. “Many of us have never been outside the state of Texas so we look at this opportunity as a once in a lifetime experience,” she said. She credited Enterprise Bank with making the trip possible.
The class will meet with Michael Scuse, acting under secretary for Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services to learn about career opportunities within the department and tour the radio and TV production studios. Students also hope to visit historical monuments and of course, the White House.
“I hope the senior trip teaches the students about government, responsibility, independence and fiscal management,” said Herman Duhr, president of Enterprise Bank.
Duhr became involved with Calvert ISD after reading about the need for community development in the 2008 Farm Bill and meeting Terri Trevino, FSA farm loan manager. Trevino started the “Ag in the Classroom” project for the 2010 junior class (now the senior class) at Calvert ISD after the school district had problems securing an instructor for its high school agriculture program for the 2010-11 school year. Without an instructor, the program might have been suspended.
Calvert, which has one of the lowest income populations in Texas, is a small town in Robertston County with deep roots in production agriculture. Because the town thrives off of its farmland and pastures, raising the next generation of farmers is imperative to its survival. Employees from the Falls County Farm Service Agency realized the importance of keeping agriculture in the classroom and stepped in to save the program. They created a curriculum and secured volunteers from throughout USDA and the business community to teach each class.
Enterprise Bank assisted Trevino by presenting financial management lessons to the students. But their involvement didn’t stop there. When Trevino mentioned to Duhr that the senior class was seeking sponsors to assist with fundraising for their senior trip Duhr presented the request to Enterprise Bank and the bank agreed to pay for the senior trip to Washington in its entirety.
“We are looking forward to our senior trip because it is a trip that will never be forgotten,” said Grimes.
Cheryl Fenn, a counselor with Calvert ISD said this opportunity will hopefully allow them to see that they can accomplish anything.
“In the past few years, most of Calvert’s students have set higher education goals,” said Fenn. “This trip to Washington, D.C. can provide them even more incentive to want to excel beyond what they thought was possible,” she said.