Monday Spotlight: Sherando student to follow his dreams to Virginia Tech

Justin Petrie

STEPHENS CITY – Justin Petrie, a senior at Sherando High School, will follow his passion for agriculture to Virginia Tech this fall.

Justin, 17, of Stephens City, will study agricultural science at Virginia Tech after spending about seven years participating in agricultural programs since middle school.

He has been a part of FFA since discovering he had a passion for agriculture, turning his hobby into a career goal. He is also the group’s president this year and has been with the group since sixth grade.

He said he became interested in the agricultural field in sixth grade after taking an agriculture elective. He didn’t have a background in agriculture, but fell in love with the field, especially the mechanical aspect of agriculture.

“I joined it. Just put my feet in the water and found it was a lot of fun and a lot of interest to me,” he said.

After graduating from Virginia Tech, he said he wants to become an agriculture teacher and possibly come back to the area to teach, or at least stay in Virginia.

To prepare him for this career path, he said he will be shadowing two agriculture teachers in Shenandoah County beginning this month as part of Frederick County’s work-based learning program introduced this year.

He added that his agriculture teachers have been very supportive and have inspired him to pursue a career in the agriculture field. Justin said the agriculture program is one of the largest programs at Sherando High School and that he is proud to be a part of it.

There are a lot of misconceptions associated with the agriculture field, he said. It is about more than farming and animal sciences; it offers experience and skills in many other fields like teaching, leadership and lobbying.

He is also a part of the National Honors Society and the Advisory Council Team, a new program this year that serves as a link between the student body and the school’s administration.

He said the Advisory Council Team is building a food pantry behind the school. The school has a food pantry in the library, but they hope to expand the offerings and size of the pantry to meet the needs of the growing number of students on free and reduced lunch.

He added that his two younger brothers have followed in his footsteps and have also joined FFA.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or ktoy@nvdaily.com