From: Todd Dobson <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Tue, Aug 3, 2010 at 5:08 PM
Subject: Dear Fellow Teachers

I hope everyone has had an opportunity to get a little rest this summer. I
also hope that you found the GVATA summer conference to be productive.  I
sit here today on the first day of school for Pickens County, probably the
most hectic day of the year, and I open an email about the budget cuts.  Like
most of you, I knew it was probably coming but I still held on to some hope
that it wouldn’t.  Many people have publicly said that times would get worse
before they get better, I guess they were right.

I am writing you today to ask that you do a very important job for your
profession. I want you to toot your own horn and brag on your program and
your students.  Make sure that nothing you or your students accomplish goes
unnoticed.  We as a group must get the word out to everyone how important
our local programs are to our students and our communities.  If we do not
recognize and promote our chapter and students, then who will?

This past summer I was fortunate to be a part of a group of teachers that
met with Mr. Bridges to discuss ways to improve our Agricultural Education
program here in Georgia.  A challenge arose from the group to have every
teacher in Georgia to invite their local Representative and Senator to
participate in a FFA event at their school.  The group suggested that you
could invite them to speak to your classes, attend chapter meetings, attend
alumni meetings, assist with career development events, or serve as judges
for your local CDE’s.  I hope that you will seriously consider doing this as
we continue to promote and defend our program during these very difficult
economic times. While we have received some reductions to our funding, we
continue to maintain strong financial support from the General Assembly.

I would like to add one additional request. I want you to take a picture
when you have a Representative or Senator come and visit your class or
participate in a FFA activity. Please write a brief caption for the photo
telling who is in the photo, the activity attended, date and location.  Please
send the photo and caption to me.  I promise that every single one of them
will be put on the GVATA website.  I will ask David Turner to set up a link
on the GVATA home page so that everyone can go see the supporters that we
have for our program.

I realize that school is just starting for most of us. I also know that
there is not a slow time of the year for Ag teachers.  This request is too
important for you to put it on the back burner. Please take time today to
look at your calendar, set aside some dates, make some contacts and get the
people who have the power to make major decisions in to your
classroom.  Spending
a day with a Representative or Senator is a great experience. They want to
know who you are and what you do. But more importantly they want to see the
students engaged in your program. Their visit to your program will put a
name and a face to the local agricultural education program when the 2011
General Assembly session begins.

I wish each and every one of you a very successful and productive year.

Thank you for your time today and please know that I am here if you need me.

Todd Dobson