Position: Agriscience Teacher
School: North Putnam High School
School District: North Putnam Community School Corporation
City, State: Roachdale, Indiana
About the Nominee: Katrina Skirvin was nominated by her principal, Jason Chew. Mrs. Skirvin exemplifies what it means to be a LifeChanger for students within her program. Also known as "Mama Skirv" or "MeMaw," she goes out of her way to build relationships with her students. These relationships allow Mrs. Skirvin to push her students beyond their comfort zone and to pathways they once thought were impossible.
Mrs. Skirvin leads an FFA (Future Farmers of America) Chapter at North Putnam High School. Through her leadership, the program has grown from 20-30 high school students, to now having over 120 students in grades 6-12. She has been able to grow her program so much that her school needed to hire an additional agriculture education teacher for her program. Students flock to her program because of how engaging her class is, and how the students feel when they are around her.
While in Mrs. Skirvin's FFA program, students complete service projects throughout the community and county. Mrs. Skirvin, along with her partner agriculture educator and students, are often seen at the local Tractor Supply Center holding petting zoos and collecting donations for local charities. This fall, she spearheaded a fundraising campaign and held a pumpkin carving contest to help support Riley Children's Hospital. The FFA Program is currently gearing up for their Trunk-or-Treat at the end of October, where they will provide a safe trick or treating atmosphere for local children. During Christmas, they are instrumental in collecting money and presents for local families in need of support. Through these activities, Mrs. Skirvin and her program greatly impact the local community, but more importantly, she is teaching her students the importance of philanthropy. There is little doubt that these lessons will have a dramatic impact on the Roachdale community for generations to come.
Most of Mrs. Skirvin's students successfully leave North Putnam High School and continue on into post secondary education. Many of her students continue into careers within the agriculture industry. Mrs. Skirvin maintains relationships with her students as they head down these pathways. She will often invite and pay for meals (out of her own pocket) for current and former students to eat in fellowship. She also uses former students as mentors to current students. This not only helps her current students, but affords Mrs. Skirvin the opportunity to continue her relationships with former students. These students know that they can always reach out to Mrs. Skirvin for help, even though they are no longer at NPHS. Many former students visit Mrs. Skirvin's classroom for a pep talk, or a little help from Mama Skirv.
Through Mrs. Skirvin's mentorship, many students succeed and prosper, even if they have been written off by others. She is a LifeChanger because of her mindset. Her belief is that every student has value, and every life is worth impacting. Mrs. Skirvin has made a dramatic impact on the lives of so many students. It would be easy to share dozens of stories where she has done this, but to sum it up, she is a LifeChanger for her students.