Navajo agriculture teacher motivates, inspires students

Clyde McBride is an instructor with a unique outlook on life and education


Courtesy of Clyde McBride

Ag students from MVHS dressed to be honored by Education Week Magazine in a conference held in Washington D.C.

Brittany Mitchell, Reporter, Scottsdale Chronicle

Kayenta is a remote town located on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona. It is also home to the 2015 Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) Teacher of the Year, Clyde McBride.

McBride is an Agriculture teacher at Monument Valley High School. McBride has worked 20 years for a program he believed would motivate students to know what they are capable of doing in hopes they would continue their education after high school, and further help the community, whose priority is the well-being and safety of their livestock.

“We [the Reservation] don’t have access to animal specialists or veterinarians,” McBride said. “Other towns do, so to meet the needs of the community there is no better way to meet those needs than to train the next generation.”

The MVHS Agriculture Program has had many positive effects on students who choose to take this unique class as an elective. Many who are unsure about their postsecondary education have the opportunity to see live surgeries, give vaccines, learn how to suture, meet vets and make close contact with small animals and even bulls in class on school days. Students can volunteer to be at the Agriculture building on weekends.

One of those students is Raquel Whitehair, a senior at MVHS and Miss Teen Navajo 2016-2017.

“A lot of people that go through the program afterwards want to be vets, they want to go into Pre-Med”, Whitehair said. “It opens up our eyes and makes us realize that we are able to do so much more.”

The MVHS Agriculture program provides students the opportunity to not only observe, but also get hands-on training to work with many types of livestock and also dogs and cats. Letting the students be able to react and respond to unpredictable, real-life situations in a classroom setting motivates these students to come back for more.

“Our educational system is broke[n] because nobody will look outside of the box and make it innovative and exciting for the students to want to learn,” McBride said.

Two weeks ago, McBride and a few of his students traveled to Washington, D.C. to be honored as a “Leader to Learn From” by Education Week Magazine. The students’ willingness to learn is not an issue for McBride in his Agriculture program.

“I believe we have the best students in the nation,” McBride said. “And having the opportunity to travel with my students and have them advocate for what they truly love, concretes my evidence of how I would never trade our students for anyone.”