Gerald D. Young Agricultural Sciences Center
Born in Baytown, Texas, to Oscar and Dorothy, Gerald David Young was consistently encouraged by his family and he developed a great work ethic from his father’s example. Even as a little boy, he wanted to be involved in agriculture, and after high school, he knew that would be as an agriculture teacher or rancher.
But Young’s agricultural experience was not what it should have been. This became part of his drive and motivation to direct his attention to becoming an Ag teacher. He really wanted his students to have the experiences he felt he missed out on. As an educator, he could make a difference in students’ lives, and that’s just what he did. Receiving a bachelor’s degree in agricultural sciences from Sam Houston State University, he began his career with Austin ISD. He decided to continue his education at Sam Houston State University during his four years in New Caney ISD. After completing his master’s degree, he accepted a position in Humble where he continued teaching for another four years.
Young heard about a position at Katy High School’s Agriculture Department from Mike Schroeder, agriculture teacher at Taylor High School. After being asked to apply for the job, he interviewed with then superintendent, Dr. Gordon Brown. During that meeting, he realized there were things he could offer the program to help make it better.
In 1980, he was hired to work with the 74 vocational agriculture students attending Katy High School. He was also in charge of the District 2 Livestock Judging Contest, which later became the Katy Invitational Judging contest. With his dedication and leadership, the program continued to flourish.
Throughout his 22 years as a teacher in Katy ISD, Young was responsible for training 60 teams that qualified for state contests. Of those, ten won state and seven went on to the national contest, where five teams placed in the top five of their respective categories, with one national winner. Young also helped roughly 350 students obtain their Lone Star Farmers Degree – the highest level of membership the Texas FFA Association can award.
Young loved being a part of something amazing. He was proud of the Katy ISD FFA program and the support it received. He was a direct part of the experience, a connection for the students and the Ag program. And he wanted to do more.
He was instrumental in the advancement of agricultural sciences as part of curriculum. He helped write and lobby for House Bill 3485, which passed, allowing agricultural sciences courses to count for science, math, speech and fine arts.
He felt that he could effect change and garner even more support in a different way. After retiring from Katy ISD in 2002, Young became the executive director for the Vocational Agriculture Teachers Association of Texas, which helps the FFA chapters from across the state function year round. Young served in that capacity for 10 years before his retirement.
Young’s life and career have been spent devoted to the agricultural industry. From helping FFA programs around the state, right down to impacting a student’s life through lessons and education.
Young retired from a full-time, paying job to spend more time with his immediate family: wife, Nancy, daughter, Neely Nelson, her husband, Ruel, their daughter, Tenley; and son, Cole Young and his fiancé, Kristy Macay. But he still plays an active role in the Katy ISD Livestock Show & Rodeo and supports the agricultural industry and the District’s Ag program.