Longtime local agriculture teachers honored

Jim Harris (left) and Buddy Orsak (right), both longtime area agricultural science Ttachers, were honored July 30 in Corpus Christi at the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT) Professional Development Conference.

CORPUS CHRISTI – Jim Harris and Buddy Orsak, both longtime area agricultural science teachers, were honored on July 30 at the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas (VATAT) Professional Development Conference in Corpus Christi. 

Harris and Orsak began teaching ag in 1984 as rookie teachers in Tilden and Three Rivers, respectfully. 

They were each awarded 35-year service awards by VATAT President Tammy Christian. 

The two are more than just professional colleagues, they are great friends in life as well. As might be expected, both men have some words of wisdom for any that would listen. 

Orsak said, “It has been an honor and a privilege to teach the students of Three Rivers for the past 35 years. I love when I run into my former students and they reminisce about the good times in the shop. 

“Now I am teaching the kids of some of my former students. It seems like just yesterday, I was a student in Lonnie Messer’s classroom in Mathis High School. The skills he taught me have been passed on to my students. 

“I just hope I can have the same influence on my students, as he did on me. 

Harris said, “I have been blessed to spend my entire public school teaching career in Tilden. The members of school boards present and past, administrators, fellow teachers, parents, students and the community of McMullen County have been so supportive over the years. 

“I thank God that He saw fit for me to become part of the Free State of McMullen. I hope that my former students feel that their time with me was beneficial because my time with them has been so rewarding.” 

The Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas was established on Aug. 9, 1940. 

VATAT is a professional organization for ag science teachers and supporters that informs members about the latest ag education practices, encourages higher standards of teaching and provides a unified voice in the state legislature. 

With more than 2,400 full-time agricultural science teachers serving more than 160,000 students, these teachers and program are integral parts of the educational experience in 1,073 school districts in Texas.