Back-to-school season can be an overwhelming time for parents and students alike. Between picking out classes, trying new sports and deciding on organizations to join, high school freshmen have an especially busy season on their hands. The Cass Career Center FFA Chapter officers noticed the effect this was having on their first-year members’ level of participation and took action by creating a Greenhand Information Night and Ice Cream Social to be held the second or third week of school to boost involvement.
Eucalyptus trees are native to Australia. A rare type of evergreen, it is seldom that you see them shed their leaves. It is a wonder they ever manage to sell rakes in the land down under. Nevertheless, it was a cool day at St. Matthew’s Catholic School when a young Kate Thompson stood with a rake held high above her head. She thrust the rake towards the earth, poking 16 fresh holes in the ground below her. She looked to her mother and said, “Mum, look what I did! I am giving the soil air.” Mum replied with laughter, “Well done, Kate.” Grinning with pride, Kate continued to poke 16 holes at a time into the soil around the grassy play area.
What started as a search for firsthand experiences with livestock for students of the Mount Vernon agricultural education program ended in a 10-month building project, now known as the animal science lab. Built for students by students, the lab is designed to help members of the Mount Vernon FFA Chapter become more familiar with animal agriculture.
Agricultural educators and FFA advisors Jay Shepherd and Steven Prewitt started crafting in December 2017 their idea of a hands-on space where students could learn about livestock.
“We had posts driven by a local fence builder who is an alumnus,” Shepherd said. “My students built the rest of it.”
Using a mobile welding trailer made the year before, students Ryan Raucher, Lane Hale and Corby Allen used their welding skills to build the lab.
Between working during their agricultural education classes and coming in on their own time, these students completed the project in 10 months.