According to some of the best ag teachers of today, Indiana lost a great one when Elvin Smith passed away recently. He was a long-time ag teacher at Washington Township High School in Porter County in northwest Indiana.
Smith is best remembered for his award-winning soils judging teams, many of which went on to perform well in national competitions in Oklahoma. The National Soils Judging Contest is held each year during the first week of May in Oklahoma. Incidentally, teams will be vying this weekend for the right to go to the 2013 National Land Judging Contest by competing at the state contest, to be held Oct. 20, near Batesville. The top five FFA teams and top five 4-H teams are eligible to go to the competition in Oklahoma.
After his retirement, Smith volunteered to help a number of coaches and teams, particularly those going to national judging in Oklahoma. Don Haberlin, former ag teacher at Western Boone, says he was instrumental in helping him teach land judging to his students when he had a string of successful teams in the 1990s and early 2000s.
Hank Carson, Orleans, says that over the past several years, Smith helped his teams. He even came to Orleans and spent all day with students. What Carson remembers most is that he was a teacher. He would work with students one-on-one in a way few people can until they understood the point he was trying to get across to them.
Most recently, he traveled with the Benton Central Soils judging team to the national contest in Oklahoma, even though he was in his eighties. Teachers comment that his ability to know everything there is to know about judging in Oklahoma was uncanny. He helped guide the Benton Central team to the national championship.
Elvin 'Smitty' Smith will be missed. As current teachers say, 'our profession lost a good one.'