Posted on

continued from page Hog Show. ….

continued from page

Hog Show. Revered as “the visionary for Wheeler County’s Agricultural Department,” Oliver was praised for “making a positive difference in the lives of students by developing their potential for premier leadership, personal growth, and career success through agricultural education,” which is the mission of the National FFA (Future Farmers of America) Organization.

Oliver has been named the Young Agricultural Teacher of the Year and Agricultural Teacher of the Year by the Georgia Vocational Association Teachers of Agriculture and received honorary State and American FFA degrees.

In his first year as agriculture teacher (1992), Wheeler County High School had approximately 50 FFA members. That number has tripled during his tenure. Under his leadership, Wheeler County students have won State Career Development Events (CDEs) 15 times, with the 2018 FFA Forestry Team advancing to national competition in Indianapolis and finishing in third place.

During Oliver’s time with Wheeler County Schools, the Agricultural Education Department has offered many opportunities for FFA members — lessons learned in and beyond the classroom. Each year, students participate in public speaking competitions, agricultural mechanics contests, forestry competitions, land and soil judging, and livestock judging and exhibitions. They actively learn the work of electrical wiring, wildlife identification and management, and good stewardship of natural resources.

Oliver understands the vital role agricultural education plays in the development of Wheeler County students’ positive work ethic and self-esteem. As an educator and mentor, Oliver has prepared students for career opportunities prevalent in the small, rural community. His considerable influence is reflected in the lives of the many students who have chosen careers that utilize skills learned in his classes.

Oliver had big plans for the county and its students. In 2020, the Wheeler County Board of Education purchased 12 acres of land for a new 13,000-square-foot agricultural facility, which was completed in 2022. On this site, the Agricultural Education Department plans to establish a school farm, where students will apply theories and concepts learned in the classroom to real-world, hands-on experiences.

Wheeler County Schools Superintendent Suzanne Couey said, “The new ag facility could never have become reality without Mr. Oliver’s faithful vision. He designed the facility and assisted in every part of its construction. Because of his devotion to the AG programs, Mr. Oliver’s influence on Wheeler County’s youth will extend for many generations.”

FFA’s mission to inspire positive change, using the tool of agricultural education, can be summarized by its motto: “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” In his three decades working for Wheeler County Schools, Oliver has truly “lived to serve” his students and community. The many accomplishments of his students are evidence of his commitment to hands-on learning that benefits students and their communities well beyond graduation.

Oliver was joined by several members of his family and school administrators Saturday, as he received his honor during the hog show. It was a fitting stage since Oliver has been an ever-present face at the shows for years. The Ailey native said he was “surprised, humbled and very honored” by the presentation. “It certainly wasn’t necessary, but I am very appreciative. It’s been a long journey, but it’s not over yet. We have more to do.” Oliver said he came to Wheeler County 31 years ago thinking he might be here for a year or two. “I never left. That says a lot for the people here.”

Recent Death Notices