On display at the Durant FFA display at last month’s Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City was a life-sized photo of Timothy H. Cribbs, a larger-than-life educator and FFA advisor. (Photo credit: Linda Chion.)

“In loving memory of Timothy H. Cribbs,” read a display last month at the Florida Strawberry Festival featuring a life-sized photo of agriculture education teacher Timothy H. Cribbs of Plant City, who started his career at Durant High School the same year the school opened.

The year was 1995, and Cribbs was a few years into his teaching career with Hillsborough County Public Schools. Cribbs died on December 14, 2022, at age 61, having been an ag teacher for 39 years.

“He was always 24/7 agriculture and working with the kids, and I know he took pride in helping to develop future leaders,” said Scott Brooks, who as a junior high student met Cribbs, then a teacher, at Turkey Creek Middle School.

Like Cribbs, Brooks attended the University of Florida and after graduation taught with Cribbs at Durant High School. Brooks now works for Hillsborough’s career, technical and adult education department.

That Cribbs had a decades-long impact on his community, his colleagues and the children he taught and mentored was apparent at his funeral service, which Brooks said was run like an FFA meeting, complete with speeches and opening and closing ceremonies. “Young people, former students and ag teachers who left the area, they all came back for Tim’s funeral,” Brooks said. “Durant students had on their FFA jackets while students from other schools did the same. It was spot-on, and it was Tim.”

While many photographs of Cribbs were in view at the Florida Strawberry Festival, none were larger than the life-sized photo of Cribbs at the Durant FFA display that shows him hunched over, kicking up his knee, bowing his head, grinning widely and clenching a fist, signifying another triumph.

“Tim was larger than life, one of the most competitive humans I’ve ever been around,” Brooks said. “A lot of people want to win competitions and they want their trophies and the glory that comes with it. But very few are willing to do all the work that it takes to be the best.”

When it came to Cribbs, a seasoned ag teacher and Florida FFA advisor, “it’s kind of a legacy of his, how many people he made champions,” Brooks said. “Saturdays, Sundays, after school, before school, during lunch, he gave so much of his personal time to help so many of these kids become successful.”

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