Nominated by Valorie Dorrell:
Along with being Willamina High’s Agricultural Science and Technology Teacher, Roy Whitman is a very busy and special man. His father-in-law started the Agriculture Program in Willamina in 1954, and Roy has carried on the tradition. He has been a Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor for many years in Yamhill County. He works with students from Sheridan and Willamina schools. He helps other school advisors to get children involved in the annual “Food for All” benefit, collecting 250,000 plus pounds of food donations that are distributed to Marion and Polk Counties and the Central Oregon Coast, in collaboration with seven area FFA groups. He allows Sheridan and Willamina students to put their animals, pigs, goats, rabbits, and sheep, on his property to raise for the Polk County Fair Market animals. Roy gathers students to volunteer to help the Salem and Polk County Fairground’s get ready for fair days in the summer. Roy was going to retire last year, but when he heard there were advisors that were retiring, he decided to stay-on to help the new advisors. He volunteers on the City Council, and helps the agricultural students get their community credits that are required for senior credit towards getting special FFA badges and scholarships. Roy is also involved in a program called "Pork for People”, supporting food banks with fresh meats. He is involved in many fundraisers that procure funding for trips to competitions such as leadership, public speaking, different proficiency (beef, dairy, swine, sheep, and poultry production), agricultural mechanics, and agricultural services. Roy organizes kids to help out with a program called "Ag Fest", held at the Oregon State Fairgrounds in Salem. The students help grade school kids plant different shrubs, fruit trees, and vegetable plants. The children learn where milk comes from, and how baby chicks hatch. Roy also organizes funding donated by the community to use at the Polk County Marketing Auction to boss on children's animals for the community businesses. The money from the auction goes to the FFA students. He is also involved with the annual collection and delivery of food and clothing donations for Dignity Village in Portland. He’s donated countless hours of his own time promoting the new West Valley Community Center and collects donations for Coyote Joe’s Annual Free Christmas Dinner. Roy is a great friend and neighbor and helps any and all in need. He’s an amazing teacher, who will be missed when he retires this year. Roy Whitman is respected by students, teachers and the entire community!
Congratulations Roy, from all of us at K103!
What inspired you to become an educator?
I would have to say my agriculture teachers, Bruce Sigloh and Ron Stebbins inspired me to become an educator. Ron said “Roy when you go to OSU to wrestle you have to major in something. You like people and agriculture, think about Agriculture Education.” I never changed my major and graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education.
What do you like most about teaching?
The thing I like most about teaching is watching young adults grow into responsible parents, employees, professionals and leaders in their communities.
What has changed the most since you began your career in education?
Technology has been the greatest change since I became an educator thirty-one years ago.
What would you like parents to know about your job?
Parents trust me to take their children on overnight activities and across the United States to conventions. I treat each of them as if they were a niece or nephew.
Share a favorite story about your years in education.
My son laughed when I said I had to share a favorite story about my years as an educator. There have been some outstanding memories over the years! Taking students to Portland early on Presidents Day, with young piglets, in an activity we called, “Pass the Pig”, ranks at the top. Many of the students learned to find locations in Portland as we were sent from one location to another. Each movement required a donation to deliver the pig to the next unsuspecting recipient of the passing pig. We were actually sent to a location where a boyfriend proposed marriage by sending the pig to his fiancé. Students shared about the FFA on radio stations and even made the 12:00 o’clock news.
In recent years our students continue to amaze me in the dedication and commitment to supporting our Food for All food drive that collected, packaged, and distributed more than 260,000 pounds of produce to more than 5,000 families throughout Oregon. A project started by Perrydale FFA sixteen years ago is now a cooperative venture between dozens of schools. Several students have spent time at the State Capital lobbying for tax benefits for farmers and other businesses that donate to charities. There is so much learning that occurs outside of the classroom that helps students grow into outstanding leaders.