May 3-7 marks National Teacher Appreciation Week. It is a time when the National Education Association calls on the nation to join the growing chorus that thanks educators, not just this week, but every day.
Among the teachers making a lasting impact on their students is Peggy Georg, an Agriculture Science teacher and FFA advisor at Jourdanton High School. A graduate of JHS, Georg was a member of the Jourdanton FFA Chapter and competed in Chapter Conducting, Dairy Cattle Judging and Ag Sales. A state qualifier in all three events while in high school, Georg also served as chapter officer attending various camps and conventions.
She also competed in sports as a member of the volleyball and softball teams, was a member of the National Honor Society, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Business Professionals of America.
“In fact my senior year in high school I showed pigs and poultry projects,” said Georg. “I was a state qualifier for BPA and I also placed at the Houston Livestock Show so I was literally traveling from one town to the next from business clothes to country clothes within the same day because of a time conflict and the scheduling.”
When she was in second grade, Georg made a goal to attend Texas A&M University in College Station. Her teacher was Mrs. Burket and Georg admired her daughters, Beth and Lea Ann. She had plans to play basketball like Beth and become a veterinarian like Lea Ann.
As Georg grew older and realized she wasn’t going to be tall, her basketball plans changed. She also changed her mind on becoming a vet, but knew Texas A&M was the university for her. Initially, she didn’t set her sights on becoming an ag teacher, but wanted to go into Ag Business, Public Relations or a related field.
“The second half of my sophomore year, I decided I missed the FFA,” said Georg. “I missed the competitions and the camaraderie of being surrounded by a lot of people that I knew and that network, the atmosphere of the entire thing. That’s when I decided to switch over to Ag Science, completed my degree and got my teacher’s certification.”
She graduated from Texas A&M in 2006 and has been an Ag Science teacher for 12 years, working at Pasadena High School southeast of Houston and Tuloso-Midway High School on the coast before working at JHS. She is fortunate to work with her mother, Janis Georg, at the high school and her parents still reside in Jourdanton. Her siblings, Katy and Ryan Georg, also earned degrees from Texas A&M and are employed in the ag field, which Georg describes as a testament to what the program has done for many students. Her brother is employed in Research and Development for H-E-B, and her sister works for the USDA.
While her busy schedule doesn’t provide much time for hobbies, Georg enjoys spending time with her 5-year-old daughter, Paxstyn. She loves watching how her daughter interacts with the students.
Georg enjoys the competitive atmosphere of the teaching field and building confidence in students who think they cannot achieve something. Georg gave the example of a student who had a schedule change and was put in her ag class later in the school year. The student has blossomed into someone who is now competing on several teams and loves the ag field.
“That’s what drew me back into this. My ag teachers, Mr. Hunter and Mr. Lanier were both hugely instrumental in making me who I am today,” Georg said. “I saw what they did with kids and I wanted to be able to do the same thing.”
Georg, the ag department and students have been quite successful at JHS, with many banners gracing the walls. Some were recently taken down since they were needed for photos this past week.
“We’re successful and I think it’s that drive that these kids want to keep. They like seeing these banners hang up on the wall. They like seeing their names attached to them.”
The importance of Ag Science goes beyond so much more than farming, emphasized Georg. The Career and Technology Education Department which ag is a part of enables students to become a successful professional. They can take the valuable skills they learn and apply it to so many aspects of their life– in college and beyond.
“They may never see another dairy cow for the rest of their lives. They may live in a big city, but they’re going to understand being on that team they learned how to problem solve, how to time manage, how to work with others and how to analyze things,” Georg said.
The students have succeeded at the state level under her guidance, especially when it comes to speaking events. For example, students in Ag Sales take a product, research it and are able to sell it to other people.
Georg described the two different areas of events: Career Development Events, which are judging competitions typically held in spring and Leadership Development Events, which are usually held in the fall. CDE includes skills such as livestock judging, vet science, entomology and more. In LDE, students learn Public Relations, Broadcasting, job interviews and more.
Georg has also served as reporting secretary with the Atascosa County Livestock Show and was elected president of the board of directors on April 21.
“I play a dual role there as an ag teacher and as one of the officers. We help execute the show and make sure it happens for these kids and have a great ACLS, which we typically do,” Georg said.
She is particularly drawn to the leadership area and serves as the Area X FFA Association Leadership Development Coordinator. Georg gets to help lead most of the students activities that Area X does as a whole.
She keeps in contact with many of her former students, who will often keep Georg updated on their college projects or ask for her advice on something they wrote.
“FFA and ag are truly a family. We are still very much a part of their life even after high school and I think that’s really special for teachers,” Georg said.
She feels blessed for such connections.
Following the spring of 2020 when schools were closed for in-person learning, Georg was extremely grateful to return in the fall. The restrictions and limitations made it one of their toughest years, she shared. Students learned how to adapt and change, while still being successful at it.
“Yes, we missed out on some big opportunities this year for our kids of not being able to do things, but at the same time they were able to get a little bit of a taste of everything,” Georg said.
Despite the difficult year, JHS had five teams in the fall compete at state for Leadership Development. This is something JHS has not done since 2013. This spring, JHS had eight teams compete. Last Friday on campus, the students were competing in the Ag Sales Virtual State Competition.
“Thirteen state-qualifying teams this year alone. It’s awesome, just because of the type of year that it was,” Georg said.
The students’ drive to achieve at the state level is evident in their research, the effort they put forth and the questions they ask, she explained.
“The most rewarding part of being an ag teacher and FFA advisor is being able to make connections with these incredible students,” said Georg. “Being able to witness their ‘ah-ha’ moments when they discover something that they are passionate about, and are able to succeed far past their own expectations is what drives me to continue to push them each year.”