Gerlt enjoys ag construction classes

Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Sheldon Gerlt works in the field for a Slater area farmer. The 2011 Slater graduate said one of his favorite things in FFA was his ag construction class.

Sheldon Gerlt, a 2011 Slater High School graduate joined FFA as a freshman, because he always wanted to take ag classes.

In April of this year, he became one of five Slater students to earn the State FFA Degree at the Missouri FFA Convention held in Columbia.

Sheldon, the son of Lyndal and Gail Gerlt of rural Slater, said he began his SAE (Supervised Agriculture Experience) to help afford "gas money."

But his sophomore year it turned into a "full-blown job", working for local cattle and row crop farmer Jim Ed Peel. As a member of the SAE coop class, he was able to leave school early each day, receiving not only school credit, but also a chance to earn money. His job on the farm includes helping with a variety of tasks, including, "anything and everything he tells me to do." In the summer he works up to 60 hours a week or more, while in the winter his hours "fall back to 30 hours," he said.

Gerlt has learned a lot during his time on the farm.

"I learned what it takes to put crops in and what it takes to get them out," he said.

As a four-year FFA member he said he learned the "world is full of a lot people."

"You meet a lot of people with contests and everything," he said.

His favorite FFA activity was his ag construction class last year.

"It was in the shop and I was good at it," he said. "Everything just clicked."

Sheldon said he would recommend joining FFA to incoming high school freshman because it is a "good class to take."

"You actually learn quite a bit," he said. "It's fun - you get out of school and you meet a lot of people. You travel a lot, too and you get a lot of opportunity to go on a lot of trips and see things. Whenever we go on our trip at the end of FFA week, we get to tour a factory or something like that. "

As an FFA member, Sheldon received the scholarship and leadership awards. He also was a member of two CDE (Career Development Event) contest teams: Dairy Foods and Ag Mechanics, where he qualified for state as a senior.

Sheldon played basketball as freshman at Slater, before he started spending more time working at his job.

His hobbies includes riding around, hanging out with friends, hunting and shooting sports.

"Every now and then I like to work on things, but then it gets to be a pain because I realize how much stuff I have that's broke," he laughs.

Sheldon began school at Linn Tech in June, where he plans on getting a certificate as a heavy equipment operator. When the course ends in May 2012, he said he wants to get a union job on a pipeline or something similar.

"Money and benefits is what I'm going for," he said.

Contact Marcia Gorrell at mgorrell@marshallnews.com