Lightbody has taken the agriculture program and pushed it forward in new and exciting ways at West Orange High.
Originally a math teacher before arriving at West Orange High School, Kristy Lightbody saw a lot of kids in the school’s agriculture program wanting to quit or change schools — that’s when something clicked. Since taking the required certification test and becoming the agriculture teacher last year, Lightbody has revived the program and pushed it to new heights — all while inspiring her students and becoming one of the most familiar faces on campus.
What do you love most about West Orange High?
What I love most about the school are the opportunities that they provide for the students — whether that be to pursue a technical or agricultural type of career through our ag program. And there’s always a big sense of community in our school.
What brought you to the school?
I started as an elementary school teacher and then found my way to middle school math, which I generally loved. In the math program, I tutored many students who were at West Orange High School, and they were at the agriculture program. They started to tell me a little about that they were not getting a lot of opportunities to do various things that would help further along their careers. My main passion is honestly working with students — I have a true love for them and want to see them be successful. … I wanted to come to West Orange to help the students achieve their dreams and goals for their future.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
My favorite part of the job would be when a student discovers a new love or passion for something — whether it is working with an animal or discovering a topic … such as forestry or citrus and they’re able to pour themselves into that newfound passion.
What’s the nicest thing a student or faculty member has done for you?
I have gotten a lot of compliments on how they are starting to hear positive things about the program, and there are a lot of students who are seeking out — through their counselors — to join the agriculture program, which is a big difference from about a year-and-a-half ago. It’s just the student’s desires to be in the program, and the staff kind of backing that up.
Do you have a favorite animal in the agriculture program?
Personally, the Jersey cow “Buttercup.” After I was offered the position, I wanted to pick an animal I could incorporate long term into the program and we brought her home at 4 days old in the back of our car. ... She is probably one of the sweetest animals you will ever come into contact with.