Teacher Community Service Award


Richard McPherson

Santa Cruz Valley USD

Richard McPherson and Rio Rico FFA students have demonstrated leadership through community service projects incorporated into the CTE Program. Under Mr. McPherson’s guidance: Agriscience students teaching at Santa Cruz County Fair created and maintained alliance with the Green Valley Gardeners to custom-produce 4,500 Texas White Onions for their fundraiser; K-5 Ag Science Plant-Pal Program partnered with Rio Rico Golf Course and ReNature Inc. to conduct an Ag Science Project on soil health of course greens and tees; Partners with Arizona Farm Bureau for Ag in the Classroom; Agricultural Literacy Program for elementary students in the district; Rio Rico Agriscience students participated in a multi-state, multi-community project partnering with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation; Created and implemented New Programs at Demonstration Farm (est. 2012-Hydroponic House, traditional greenhouse, raised beds, and traditional row crops; WakWay Foundation, and Giumarra Produce, they were successful in providing 134 tons of fresh produce to families living in the food deserts of Tucson, Dallas, Phoenix, Mesa, Peoria, Chandler, and Luke AFB by the end of March 2019; Completed 1,372 volunteer hours, raising $5,998 in contributions and produce, to successfully donate tons of tomatoes, cucumbers, oranges, zucchini squash, colored bell peppers, watermelons in the aforementioned communities. One hundred and thirty-four tons of produce equals roughly 1,000,000 servings of fruits and vegetables. These are just a few of their accomplishments.

In 2017, built a 600 sq. ft. aquaponic system which produces 200 one pound tilapia fillets per month and irrigates 240 Ever Bearing Strawberries, 60 Mint, 60 Basil, and 120 Lavender plants year round. The Ag Students attend Farmers’ market and Instruct community about water conservation; donate up to 10 tons of produce annually and up to 50 dozen eggs per week to local food banks; implemented Livestock Protection Dogs breeding program.

Their mission is to improve the quality of life, through service programs and there is no question they do so.