By Barbara P. Jacoby
Wyatt Wilkie is a homegrown leader in the education and agriculture community.
The Creekview HS Career Pathway teacher was named his school’s Teacher of the Year by his peers and, earlier this year, a committee of retired educators and community leaders named him one of the Cherokee County School District’s (CCSD) four districtwide Teacher of the Year finalists.
Wilkie began his path as a CCSD student and standout athlete who continued his nationally ranked athletic success as a college wrestler.
“Besides my parents, teachers and coaches have had the largest impact on my life,” said Wilkie, who now is in his 18th year as a teacher. “My success has been made possible by those who invested in me. I chose to teach, so that I could invest in students and in our future. I hope to make a difference like those who shaped my life.”
His investment in students helped grow Creekview’s agriculture program to include a new Career Pathway offering: Agriculture Mechanics Systems.
“Much of the agriculture mechanics curriculum is new to students. For me, students do not have to get it the first time, but they must try,” he said. “One can learn from success and from failures. Knowing they get a second chance allows students to relax and give it their best.”
An exciting recent project for students was prompted by his purchase of two broken go-karts.
“We used these in class to learn small engine diagnostics,” Wilkie said. “We ended up rebuilding the top end, and students were excited to get it back together and see it work.”
Wilkie’s investment in students extends beyond the classroom through sponsoring the school’s Future Farmers of America (FFA) chapter.
“Community service is a large part of our FFA chapter. We grow vegetables in our raised-bed gardens and donate the produce to The House of Hope,” he said. “We support the Christmas giving tree and provide Christmas for children in our community. We also conduct donation drives when the Honey Pot is running short on items.”
What can parents do to help their child be as successful as possible at school?
“Encourage your child to get involved. Get involved with a team, a club, or an organization. Extracurricular activities provide leadership opportunities, personal growth, and many experiences that one cannot get from the normal school schedule,” Wilkie said. “Parent involvement is invaluable when it comes to student success. Students need to be held accountable for their successes and failures. Email a teacher and ask how you can help.”