- April 12, 2022
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.