Middletown High School's fourth annual Ag Day on Friday gave one student an opportunity to provide the introduction to agriculture she wished she had received as a young girl.
Darion Gregg first developed a passion for agriculture when she was just a little girl.
“I grew up on what used to be an old farm, but we weren’t allowed to have animals there,” the Middletown High School senior recalled last week. “But we would find artifacts from the old farm laying around, and just that little taste made me want to learn everything I could.”
As lead organizer for the school’s fourth annual Ag Day, Gregg got a chance last week to help provide dozens of young children with the introduction to farming she wished she had received.
“The main goal was for them to see the animals up close and get them thinking about how so much they interact with on daily basis gets its start on farm,” she said. “I wanted it to be as fun as it is educational.”
About 85 kindergarteners from Clayton Elementary School spent Friday morning touring Middletown High’s extensive ag wing, where FFA members and other students provided them lessons on animal by-products, crops, aquaculture, veterinary care, forestry, greenhouses and other agriculture-related subjects.
“I learned about how goats need to stay healthy,” Clayton Elementary School kindergartener Julia Seward said visiting the veterinary station.
“I got to pet a baby cow,” kindergartener Kelly Sirrell said. “It was so cute.”
The students also got to watch as Middletown High senior Stanley Gaffrey gave kindergarten teacher Janine Nichols a lesson on how to milk a cow.
“My hope is they got an understanding for how important farming is to our future,” Nichols said afterward. “This trip also ties our lessons about community helpers in perfectly with helpers in their own community.”
Gregg, who organized the event as her senior project, said she hopes the visit sparks a lasting interest in the students, the same way her world opened when she first discovered Future Farmers of America.
“It was like I finally found what I was looking for and from there I’ve been taking as many ag classes as I can,” she said. “It was a good thing too, but I’d already picked up everything my mom and dad could teach me.”