By Scott Meacham
Copyright © 2017, The Oklahoma Publishing Co.
Over half of the enrollment at the Oklahoma School of Science and Math (OSSM) comes from communities with populations of less than 10,000 people. About one-third of Oklahoma’s K-12 students come from rural areas.
Logan Biggins is one of those. A 2017 OSSM graduate and now a freshman at Oklahoma State University with a dual major in agricultural education and agricultural economics, Logan grew up near Binger, population around 675.
As a sophomore at Binger-Oney High School, Logan maxed out in the available science and math courses, a story not so unusual for an OSSM enrollee. But what is a little different with Logan was his commitment to National FFA Organization (previously Future Farmers of America).
Logan started in FFA when he was in the eighth grade. As a sophomore, he won the Oklahoma state FFA competition in farm business management and was on track to compete in FFA nationals when he was accepted at OSSM.
There isn’t an FFA program at OSSM. But with cooperation between administrators at Binger-Oney, Oklahoma FFA, and the state of Oklahoma, Logan was allowed to continue as a member of the FFA while he was at OSSM.
This scholastic and extracurricular combination cemented Logan’s college and career plans. He first thought he wanted to be an aerospace engineer, but then decided that teaching agriculture was where he found his purpose. Logan now wants to be a high school teacher in a community like the one he came from, a rural school where agriculture is more of a focus.
“I want to teach at the high school level for at least five years,” Logan said, “after that, if high school is not for me, then I’ll move on to the university level. If the option became available, I would consider teaching at OSSM.”
“Colton Blehm, my ag teacher at Binger-Oney, was a big influence,” he said. “He is a role model and showed me the type of influence you could have on younger people and the effect you could have on their lives and how they might change the way they live based on the time you have together.”
The story of Logan Biggins is an Oklahoma story if there ever was one. He is from rural Oklahoma. He developed a love of agriculture from his experience with FFA. He was inspired by an Oklahoma teacher to aspire to become a teacher in Oklahoma. He accepted the academic challenge of OSSM and leveraged that opportunity to earn scholarships to Oklahoma State, a university that will prepare him for his chosen career.
When we think about the natural resources that give Oklahoma a competitive edge, we need to remember that our bright and curious young people belong at the top of the list. They deserve the best education we can provide.
Scott Meacham is president and CEO of i2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that mentors many of the state’s technology-based startup companies. i2E receives state support from the Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology. Contact Meacham at i2E_Comments@i2E.org.