Richard McPherson, at far left, and members of the agriscience program at Rio Rico High School.

Richard McPherson, a teacher at Rio Rico High School, has been recognized for his work to incorporate community service into the agriscience program at RRHS.

McPherson received the 2021 Carl Perkins Community Service Award for Region V from the Association for Career and Technical Education, which “recognizes individuals who have used CTE to make a significant impact on their community and demonstrated leadership in programs and activities that promote student involvement in community service.”   

In a news release, the Santa Cruz Valley Unified School District said that under McPherson’s guidance, the RRHS agriscience program has:

• Created and maintained an alliance with the Green Valley Gardeners to custom-produce 4,500 Texas white onions as a fundraising project. 

• Partnered with Rio Rico Golf Course and ReNature Inc. to conduct an Ag Science Project on soil health of course greens and tees.

• Participated in a multi-state, multi-community project partnering with the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation.

• Created and implemented programs such as establishing a hydroponic house, a traditional greenhouse, and growing crops in raised beds and traditional rows. 

• Partnered with the WakWay Foundation and Giumarra Produce to provide 134 tons of fresh produce to families living in Tucson, Dallas, Phoenix, Mesa, Peoria, Chandler and Luke Air Force Base west of Phoenix.  

• Attended farmers markets and taught the community about water conservation.

• Donated up to 10 tons of produce annually and as many as 50 dozen eggs per week to local food banks.

“Their mission is to improve the quality of life through service programs and there is no question they do so,” said CTE Coordinator Jorge Moreno, who nominated McPherson for the award.

The awards were announced virtually this month. The RRHS program is part of ACTE’s Region V, which includes western U.S. states and Pacific territories.

As the Region V winner, McPherson is one of five finalists for the 2021 national Carl Perkins Community Service Award, which will be announced in December.

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