Day At The Track

Donations benefit OAC Student Liaison Program

11:59 AM 05 Mar 2016 NZDT
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Cheque Presentation
Cheque Presentation: (l to r) Paul Walker, President Of the Grand River Agricultural Society; Jonathan Schmidt, OAC Associate Dean – Academic; Dr. Ted Clarke, General Manager, Grand River Raceway.

The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) recently presented the first of four cheques totaling $125,000 to benefit the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC) Student Liaison Program at the University Of Guelph.

On February 25, a donation of $31,250 was presented by the GRAS, owner/operator of Grand River Raceway, at the Elora track.

The OAC Student Liaison Program aims to increase the number of applicants to all OAC programs and increase awareness in urban and rural Ontario. The program promotes and showcases the abundance of opportunities and careers in agriculture and food to high school students, parents, educators and guidance counsellors.

Since 2010, there has been a 35 per cent growth in OAC undergraduate program enrolment. This is due in part to participation in over 75 external events and the delivery of 35 student outreach events including Reach Ahead Days, certification training and skills competitions. In total, over 3,800 high school students have attended events hosted by the Ontario Agricultural College since Fall 2010.

"Support from the Grand River Agricultural Society enables us to continue to demonstrate Ontario's agri-food education and career opportunities to high school students and teachers," shares Jonathan Schmidt, OAC Associate Dean - Academic.

"We continue to see an increased interest from rural and urban schools offering Special High Skills Majors, who are looking for our leadership in providing training and certification," he adds. "Support from the GRAS will help us continue to meet these needs and showcase the breadth and depth of agri-food."

Going forward, the program will adapt to meet the increased interest from high school teachers and students in online activities and outreach materials as well as career planning and counseling for current OAC students.

The Grand River Agricultural Society (GRAS) is a not-for-profit corporation, incorporated under the Agricultural and Horticultural Societies Act of Ontario and governed by a volunteer board of directors reporting to OMAFRA.

The GRAS mandate is to encourage awareness of agriculture and to promote improvements in the quality of life of persons living in an agricultural community.

Kelly Spencer

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