There were 266 graduates from Ridgetown College this year, including 157 in the two-year agricultural diploma program. College tuition fee for 2018-2019 was $5,740.
Graduates by the numbers:
Agricultural Dairy Herdsperson Apprenticeship: 10
Veterinary technology: 32
Veterinary office administration: 22
Environmental management: 14
Equine care: 14
Horse handler: 8
Graduates with distinction (80 per cent average or higher): 55
Meet the top Ridgetown ag grads
Noah Weber, 19, Wheatley, Ont.
Background: Born in Germany, moved to Canada in 2008. Started working on a variety of farms, and has been with E&B Medel Orchards for four years. Three years ago, his family started a fruit tree nursery.
Achievements: Academic proficiency runner-up in the agriculture program; Dr. Gary Ablett Memorial Prize for leadership abilities; Francis and Anne Ouellette scholarships for extracurricular activities while maintaining a minimum 80 per cent average; academic proficiency in the business marketing course; and academic proficiency in the corn and oilseed management course.
College highlight: The God on Tap program, a ministry for college students that want to learn about life, God and the Bible. “As a Christian, I went to Ridgetown, and the first couple of weeks, there were a lot of parties and stuff like that that I wasn’t too comfortable with. Then I found that group and it made me really feel at home. I was really welcomed there and accepted there. It was a really amazing experience.”
Future: Olds College in Alberta to study agri-business in September. Then to Germany to continue studying horticulture. Also thinking about international development in developing countries, like the Dominican Republic.
Summer plans: Working at E&B Medel Orchards.
Laura Scott, 20, Lucan, Ont.
Background: Cash crop, custom farming, beef and sheep farm.
Achievements: Dr. Ron Pitblado Memorial Scholarship toward pursuing an undergraduate degree, Excellence in Conduct and Character — J. Harold Willson Memorial Awards, and William Park Carr Scholarship — for assuming responsibility and leadership in college and community activities.
College highlight: Class trip to Wisconsin for World Dairy Expo and Spring Expo where students showed animals.
Future: Olds College, Alberta, in September for agri-business.
Summer plans: Working at the Hound Dog Market, a local feed store, and working on the family farm.
Josephine McCormick, 22, St. Agatha, Ont.
Background: Small beef farm that also grows pumpkins, squash, and other vegetables.
Achievements: Rudy H. Brown Memorial Award for highest average in the vegetable production course, and academic proficiency in the Insect and Disease Management course.
College highlight: The professors. “I know I can call them up or email them and ask them any type of question now that I am done. They know your name and you’re not just a number at Ridgetown.”
Future: Back to the farm. “We are building our own store where people can come and buy their own vegetables. I’m the oldest of six kids, and the youngest is seven years old. The plan is to eventually take over the farm.”
Summer plans: Start landscaping and flowerbed business, taking on clients by word of mouth.
Amanda Pearson, 24, St. Marys, Ont.
Background: Sheep and small laying hen farm. Earned a cooking diploma from Stratford Chefs School.
Achievements: Outstanding College Citizen — Leonard R. Giffin Memorial Award, Agri-Food Industry Award — for a minimum cumulative 80 per cent average with a career plan in the agri-food industry, and academic achievement award for financial management.
College highlight: Spring Expo. “Second year I ran the sheep show. It was a lot of fun. You’re working with some kids who have never shown animals before. I was also part of a team that went to Illinois for the North American InterCollegiate Dairy Challenge. You looked at a dairy farm and made recommendations on how they can make more profit.”
Future: Start her own catering company supplied by local food. “I want to be 100 per cent transparent so people can have an exact list of where all of my products come from. If people want, they can even go and tour the farm. This is to try and get away from the stigma around farming and the misconceptions that are there. I also want to run my own sheep farm.”
Summer plans: Working with Fine Food Market at Stratford at the butcher counter. Explaining to customers the producers’ methods for raising animals. “I just started my own sheep flock and want to expand that.
Abbey Taylor, 20, Belmont, Ont.
Background: Cash crop farm with an elevator they share with another farmer.
Achievements: Valedictorian; Governor General’s academic bronze medal for highest accumulative average in all diploma programs; Best all-round student award; academic proficiency award in the agriculture program; Ed Bertens Memorial Award for highest cumulative average in the ag program; the OMAFRA leadership award for outstanding leadership in student activities, academic proficiency in the soil principals course; and academic proficiency in the agricultural economics course.
College highlight: “Going to school with a bunch of farmers. I went to a high school that was rural but I wasn’t really friends with any farmers. Then all of sudden I come to Ridgetown with a bunch of people who understood our background and where we came from. We grew up the same way and we all knew how to work.”
Future: Work on the family cash crop farm. “I have a special interest in poultry, so I’m looking into getting into that more than I am now. I’ve had chickens for 10 years.”
Summer plans: Working on the family cash crop farm and driving the equipment.