News Release: Former JAG-K Student Now a Certified Agricultural Education Teacher

One of the ways Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) prepares students for successful futures is by helping them consider various careers and how to attain them.

JAG-K helped one former student discover his passion for teaching.

Luke Alpers, a 2017 graduate of the JAG-K program at Stafford High School, is now doing his part to prepare students for success in agriculture related careers. He is completing his first year teaching Animal Science, Welding, Ag Leadership and Eighth Grade Agriculture at Kiowa County Public Schools in Greensburg.

“JAG-K helped prepare me for success after high school by providing me with some opportunities to be a leader and work with other leaders in my community,” Alpers said.

Alpers earned his teaching certificate at Kansas State University.  He credits his Career Specialist, Patrick Dake, with helping him apply for scholarships and prepare for the challenges of college. He said one of the biggest obstacles was acclimating to a major university.

“The culture shock of going from a high school of 80 students to K-State was intense,” Alpers said. “Nothing can prepare a kid for that.”

Alpers was happy to make Kiowa County his first teaching position. He said he wants to help young people like himself pursue their interests in agriculture-related careers. He understands the importance of agriculture to Kansas’ economy. He also recognizes he can have an important impact on students who do not wind up working in agriculture.

“Everyone is a consumer. Everyone consumes agricultural products,” Alpers said. “I’m an ag teacher to create more informed consumers who make decisions based on facts and truth rather than propaganda.”

Alpers said to become a school teacher, he had to overcome some obstacles. He now wants to pass those experiences on to his students.

“Do not be afraid to fail. Failure is an excellent teacher if you are willing to learn,” Alpers said. “Be present and aware of the world around you.”

JAG-K is a multi-year, in-school program for students in grades 6-12 that offers tools to successfully transition students into post-secondary school, the military, or directly into the workforce with marketable skills. Participants in the program face multiple barriers to success that their JAG-K Career Specialist helps them overcome through a nationally-accredited, evidence-based model.

The 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization is a state affiliate of the national JAG program network which operates in 38 different states and territories. It is primarily funded through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families block grant to the State of Kansas administered by the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF). In addition to school districts and DCF, JAG-K partners with the Kansas Department of Education. Other JAG-K funding sources include ADM, AT&T, EagleU, Evergy, Goldstein Charitable Trust, the JB and Anne Hodgdon Foundation, John Deere, the Kansas Chamber of Commerce, the Kansas City Royals Foundation, Kansas Gas Service, the Kansas Insurance Department, the Kansas State Bank Commissioner, Kohl’s, Synchrony Financial, the Taco Bell Foundation, the City of Topeka, United Way of Kaw Valley, United Way of the Plains and Walmart.

To learn more about JAG-K, visit, ‘Jobs for America’s Graduates-Kansas’ on Facebook, and on Twitter at @JAG_Kansas.