How one Northeastern N.C. high school prepares graduates for the future

Developing a deeper understanding of agriculture and biotechnology – two fields that help define the Eastern part of the state – motivated one school and its graduates to redefine how they learn and discover.​

The Northeast Regional School of Biotechnology and Agriscience was established five years ago in Jamesville as a high school delivering an advanced and innovated educational curriculum that includes leadership training, engaged learning activities, and two years of community college courses that allow students to graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree.

Students are developing confidence in themselves, expanding leadership abilities, and studying two areas that are a big focus in this part of the state,” said Principal Hal Davis.

The NERSBA program is designed to be completed in five years, however, ten students completed their studies in four years and were the school’s first graduating class on Saturday. Two graduates – Noah Wynn and Shanicia Young – used their training, coursework, and experiences to propel them towards a successful future.

Living on and being a part of a farm family, this school peaked my interest because it has agriculture and biotechnology with a focus on first-generation college students and STEM – it was the best fit for me,” said Wynn, 18, of Everetts.

A lot of what I learned in school I can bring back and use on the family farm,” said Wynn, whose family’s farm, Wynn Farms, produces cotton, peanuts, soybeans, and corn.

Noah Wynn, of Everetts, crop scouts on a melon farm outside of Conetoe, Wednesday, June 15, 2016.  

All NERSBA students enroll in one agriculture course each semester that can range from environmental science to horticulture to earth and animal science. Community college offerings and online courses are plentiful in selection, and students are also all participating members of Future Farmers of America.

The engaged learning opportunities and the hands-on approach proved fruitful for Wynn. The ability to watch the dehorning of cattle on a field trip allowed Wynn to take those lessons back to his family’s land. During his summer job as a scouter for Fowler Crop Consulting, he conducts data analysis of the soil makeup and uses the lessons he learned in his chemistry class.

This helped me see that agriculture is definitely the industry I want to be a part of the rest of my life,” he added.

Wynn graduated with an Associate in Arts and will enroll at North Carolina State University this fall to major in agriculture business. Fellow classmate, Young, is using her education to put her on the fast track to law school.

This school provided me with a challenge. Being from Eastern N.C. I was able to learn more about the businesses important to this area while being taught leadership and communication skills,” said Young, 18, of Roper.

For me, math courses were the most practical real world examples in applying what we learn in class to what we do outside of class,” she added. “Kids often say, ‘why am I learning this,’ but with every class at NERSBA, I knew why I was learning it and how I could use it.”

Young used NERSBA’s team building strategies as well as lessons from FFA events and club activities to apply toward the internship requirement all students need for graduation. Garnering an internship with the Law Office of D. Cole Phelps turned into a job opportunity and set her on the path towards studying pre-law at Campbell University this fall.

Thanks to NERSBA, I’m able to handle college level work. I’m not afraid to meet new people, communicate better, and conduct myself in a professional manner. Now, I’m ready for what comes my way,” said Young.

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