Sweet memories

FFA teacher Kevin McComb retires after 31 years

Kevin McComb has retired from teaching after 31 years and now will spend his time farming at his place west of Cortez. Enlargephoto

Journal/Sam Green

Kevin McComb has retired from teaching after 31 years and now will spend his time farming at his place west of Cortez.

Kevin McComb graduated from Montezuma-Cortez High School in 1975 and went on to study at Colorado Mountain College and Colorado State University. Although he knew that he wanted to be a teacher, he had no idea then that he would return to teach his alma mater for 31 years before sweet retirement.

“Not a lot of people get that opportunity, to teach where they went to high school,” McComb said. “It was really special.”

Now, McComb says it is time to move on.

“I thought that it was about time for me to finally graduate from Montezuma-Cortez High School,” he said.

His time as an educator was well spent. McComb received national recognition from the Future Farmers of America association at the national convention during his last semester teaching.

What made it all worthwhile, though, was “seeing the light come on when something new” came to his students, McComb said.

During his 31 years of teaching, McComb was presented many opportunities to travel abroad with his students through the FFA.

“The part I enjoyed most about it was traveling with students and showing them things in the field of agriculture that they wouldn’t be able to see in our little community,” McComb said.

Through the state level competitions up to the national level, McComb and his students affiliated with the FFA were able to travel to New York City, Missouri, along with several places in Colorado.

“It was a great opportunity for myself and the students to take a look at the agriculture that is available in all of those communities,” McComb remembers.

Future Farmers of America was founded by a group of young farmers back in 1928.

FFA continues to help the next generation rise up to meet those challenges by helping its members to develop their own unique talents and explore their interests in a broad range of career pathways.

FFA aids “future biologists, future chemists, future veterinarians, future engineers and future entrepreneurs of America” in achieving their academic goals to advance them later in life, according the organization’s website.

The FFA program at Montezuma-Cortez High School averages a membership total of about 80 students per year. Through the program, students are able to apply skill sets toward competitions that place them in likely scenarios in the agriculture field.

“Seeing students of my program that were awarded their American FFA degree at the national convention and being a part of them attaining that level in their agriculture education career and students that received their state level degree, that was the highlight of my career,” McComb said. “Knowing that I really did a good job and had a part in those students’ obtaining that goal is what kept driving me to keep going in my career.”

At the FFA 2012 state convention held in Craig, McComb was presented the “Outstanding Agriculture Teacher Award. The honor was made even more meaningful by the fact that his own students had nominated him as a candidate.

“My students were the ones that put the submission together and submitted it to the state and I was awarded with that recognition,” McComb said. “It’s pretty neat to have the respect of the students, and it’s an honor to have recognition from the state especially when in was initiated by them.”

Now that McComb is entering retirement, he is really just beginning a new chapter.

“I’m going to continue to work on the family farm and do the things that fell through the cracks while having a full time job,” McComb said.

Additionally, McComb will not stop furthering himself and contributing to the field of agriculture.

“I’ll probably find a job to take up time that I have, and hopefully it will be in the agriculture field,” he said.