Ag-citing Development

Maggie Hogan Helps Launch Much Anticipated Agricultural Science Program

Hudson Falls graduate Maggie Hogan received a very kind offer and compliment the day of her 2018 graduation. HF High School Principal Jim Bennefield said if she came back in four years with a degree she should apply for a job.

Principal Bennefield’s offer stemmed from Miss Hogan’s strong efforts to have agriculture science classes added to the curriculum at HFHS. Funny thing is, when Miss Hogan set off to college to major in agriculture business at SUNY Cobleskill she never planned to be a teacher.

Well, skip forward to Dec. 2021 and Miss Hogan had the degree – in three years. During that reduced time frame to earn a four-year degree she had a few internships, yet she still hadn’t found her passion. Though it was starting to surface.

Working with kids in her aunt’s 4-H group sparked a love for sharing and teaching about her first love – agriculture and all it offers. “‘You’re great with kids and so driven … you should teach,’” she recalls her aunt saying. By February 2022 she was a long-term sub in the district, working in a self-contained classroom. She loved it.

Then the job for an agriculture teacher was finally posted and she eagerly applied. 

“This is an AG community,” Miss Hogan said. “I want ag in my hometown and for students to learn in four years what I wasn’t offered when I was a student here.” She added that the phenomenal support of Superintendent Dan Ward, Assistant Superintendent Michael DeCaprio, and Principal Bennefield is what finally made it happen. 

“There’s so much potential to be involved in ag in this town.” 

From a large and well-known family immersed in dairy farming in Hudson Falls, Miss Hogan makes it clear. The future of the ag field lies with students. And sharing her love for it – and the need for it started in just Sept. 2022. She said she could not have been more nervous walking into her alma mater to animal, plant, and food science classes as well as two ag classes.

Nerves have settled quickly, and having this program up and running is a long-awaited reality.

“The agriculture program has been on the cusp of implementation for a few years, unfortunately it was delayed by the pandemic,” Superintendent Dan Ward said. “The fact that we have made this program a reality for our students is yet another post-pandemic triumph for the Hudson Falls School District.

“The classes offered allow our students another authentic opportunity to engage with relevant topics that are essential to our success as a community and society,” Supt. Ward added. “My parents taught me long ago, ‘No Farmers, No Food.’”

In those first days in front of the classroom she asked students where food comes from and received responses such as, the grocery store, the cafeteria … my mom. Roll ahead to December and her students had just finished the lab, “Protein Predicament” and a ziploc bag of bread was evidence of that day’s lesson.

In animal science, she has a student who initially didn’t even want to be in the class. That student has now stated they are considering a career as a vet tech.

“I’m teaching real life skills,” she said with her trademark contagious enthusiasm. “I didn’t know I would love this so much.” 

 HFCSD leaders could not be more pleased with Hogan’s background and authenticity with students.

 “Ms. Maggie Hogan comes to us with a strong understanding of the students that our District serves and the community values that have led the way for generations of Hudson Falls families,” Superintendent Ward said. “She genuinely wants to lead our students to find their own path to success through exploration in agricultural topics.”

And the really good news for students, family, staff, and the community is she’s found her “work home” within her hometown. 

“I literally love my job. It is so fun and so rewarding,” she added. :”Some days are tough, but I wake up every morning and want to be here and can’t wait to get to work.”

photo collage of students in agricultural science classes, posterboards, a chinchilla and animal models.