By Colin Foster

By Colin Foster

CASSTOWN — Marie Carity didn't envision a career as a teacher coming out of high school.

She had different plans.

“I wanted to go to Kansas State and be a meat scientist … but I got elected to a state FFA officer, and you can't be an Ohio FFA officer living in Kansas,” Carity explained. “So I decided I'll just go to Ohio State for one year then I'll transfer, and I never left. I found very good friends and I had some pretty neat experiences.”

And her time at The Ohio State University would lead her down a career path she didn't necessarily expect. After college, Carity accepted a position with Miami East High School as the teacher of agriscience and agribusiness as well as taking on the role of FFA adviser. To date, she has been at the school for 13 years and has accomplished quite a lot in that time.

Recently, the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Alumni Society of The Ohio State University announced that Carity is the recipient of its 2014 Young Professional Achievement Award. The society will present Carity with the award at the Alumni Awards luncheon on March 1 at the Ohio Union on the campus of OSU.

Carity's friend, Lucy Bambauer, an agriculture teacher at Marion Local, nominated her for the award.

“I was very honored,” Carity said. “I come from a school district that is very supportive, so I'm only able to do the things I can do because I have the support of the teachers, the administration, the parents and students who do what is necessary — they'll step it up … might have to put a little pressure on them, but they'll step it up.

“I wouldn't be successful in my profession if it wasn't for my students and the school district I work in.”

Carity earned a degree in agricultural education from OSU. She works with 85 students each year in the single teacher program, with her duties including organizing student learning trips, coordinating an advisory committee, overseeing all students' SAE (Supervised Agricultural Experience) programs. She also coaches 12 career development event teams throughout the year, helps out with the FFA Alumni Chapter and orchestrates student community service projects.

Carity has also served as the Vocational Education Department chair. She earned her master of science degree in educational leadership at the University of Dayton in 2006.

Carity has a laundry list full of accomplishments and recognitions during her career. She was named Ohio Association of Agricultural Educators Outstanding Teacher in 2011, was given the Outstanding Young Member Award by the National Association of Ag Educators Region IV in 2006, and earned the Miami County Soild and Water Conservation District Outstanding Teacher Award in 2002. Additionally, Carity served on the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards in Career and Technical Education.

Carity and her husband, Brent, reside in Minster with their two children, Ruth, 6, and Cole, 3.

Carity said the FFA program is something that has been a staple in the Miami East school district. She credits her predecessors for laying the groundwork for the FFA program to have success. Though she never envisioned being a teacher after graduating high school, Carity has grown to become a highly respected person in her field who is well-liked by her students and peers — and this award solidifies that.

“I always tell my students I used to be cool,” she said with a laugh. “I was on competitive teams in college, and I went places in college — and I was neat, people thought I was neat! … Then I became a high school ag teacher and a mom, and that's fine.”

And a fine one at that.

Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews