More and more kids with mohawks have been signing up for my ag classes lately. Most of them want to learn to weld and I’m all for it.

When we returned to school after the break, we returned to the welding shop and my newest student, the one with the mohawk, began to learn to weld. He joined another student who was not your traditional ag student who was happily melded into the group. One afternoon, I overheard the two in the shop.

“Nah, man,” the first said to Mohawk. “Mrs. V is ok. Here’s what you need to know. She can use a knife better than I can- I’ve seen her cut meat. And, the bag of green stuff on her desk is alfalfa hay. It’s all good.”

Mohawk has been quick to learn welding skills. Perhaps more importantly, he has figured out that skills equate to the potential to earn money. He knows that welding can give him the resources to live less hand to mouth than he has as a kid. His school record hasn’t been great. He’s no longer in many “regular” classes due to his behavior but he is extremely bright. He’s the kind of student that hands-on learning was made for.

Over the semester, he has earned the respect of his classmates and his personality has really begun to shine through. One day he showed up with a buzz cut, sans mohawk.

He’s looking for an apprenticeship with a welder for the summer and has the skills to have a solid foundation to build upon. If anyone were to question the value of ag education and the return on investment, I would love to encourange them to shake Mohawk’s hand and ask him. You can find him in the shop and ag ed has made the difference to him.