Mike McCrory Leaves Behind A Legacy Of Positivity
by: Candace Rosen • Trib Reporter
For 33 years and through five decades, Mike McCrory has taught agriculture at Clopton High School. During his time there, he has been an extraordinary teacher, mentor, and motivator for the students of Clopton as well as members of the community.
Mike McCrory grew up on his family farm just outside Clarksville with his parents Frank and Pat McCrory along with brothers Matt and John. His mother encouraged him to join 4-H at only eight years old. Through 4-H, he was recognized as the National 4-H Congress Missouri State Livestock Project winner. In high school, he was very active in the Clopton FFA Chapter where he continued his success. He was awarded the State FFA Farmer Award in 1973 for his Supervised Agriculture Experience Project with Chester White hogs and Shorthorn cattle. But when congratulated on his achievements, he simply said it was partly due to the wonderful agriculture teachings of John Waddell and Tom Meyer, his agriculture instructors at the time. “How great they were truly inspired me to become an agriculture teacher,” he said.
After graduation, McCrory went on to study agriculture at the University of Missouri-Columbia. There he was a member of the Farmhouse Fraternity, Block and Bridle Club, and was a member of the Mizzou Livestock Judging Team. He graduated with an Animal Husbandry Degree in 1978 and then went on to complete his teaching certification the following year. That summer, the superintendent at the time offered McCrory a teaching position at Clopton High School. More than happy to return to his hometown, he excitedly accepted.
On his first day as a teacher, July 1, 1979, there were only 18 students enrolled in the agriculture program at Clopton. Due to Mr. McCrory’s intelligent instruction and captivating attitude, the Clopton FFA Chapter now boasts 126 members. During that time, he has become one of Clopton’s most treasured staff members.
“Mr. Mac played a more important role at Clopton than a teacher,” Emily Hanes, a very involved Clopton FFA Chapter member and student of Mr. McCrory’s said, ” He has been an inspiration, a motivator, a counselor, and a friend to all of his students.” He has helped students like Emily reach their full potential throughout his teaching career. His proudest achievements through the chapter were in 2009 when the Clopton FFA Chapter was given the National Models of Innovation Award at National Convention in Indianapolis, Indiana and when his daughter Paige placed in the top four for Agriculture Education Proficiency at the National level. He taught his students the basic knowledge and positive attitude that helped them to go so far in their FFA careers.
McCrory was also a huge advocate for special needs children. He made sure that every student received equal opportunities and experience. Every special education student at Clopton High School during his career there was in the agriculture program. But, he discovered, he wasn’t just helping those particular students, he was teaching the entire chapter to understand how to work with and accept each other. He said that kind of “real life experience” was something he was proud to be a part of.
Mike McCrory is retiring, but his influence will continue to be felt amongst everyone he has touched. “His love for FFA inspired my brother and I both to follow in his footsteps and teach agriculture also,” his daughter Paige McCrory said to me. “[He] has a passion for teaching agriculture that came natural to him.” That passion has been an inspiration to students all across the community. McCrory stated simply that all he wanted to do was teach his students about agriculture, help them be positive as much as possible, and help them see that “everyone has something to offer to the world.” But being such and inspiration to so many, I asked him what inspired him. He responded, “My students and past teachers. Being surrounded by great teachers like my parents and my high school and college professors gave me the example I needed to be the best I could be. And my students, they inspired me everyday to be better, so that I could help them reach each of their individual goals.”
Mike McCrory’s time as Clopton’s agriculture teacher has ended, but his influence hasn’t. McCrory plans to spend his retirement teaching a few hours a day at Elsberry High School and working on his family farm. He says as much as he doesn’t want to leave Clopton, he is excited to begin working with Mr. Jason Vandivort, the current Elsberry agriculture teacher, and the students there. As his daughter puts it, “His zest for life is second to none,” and we can only expect more great things to come from such an extraordinary man as Mike McCrory.