Friday, August 10, 2018
Most people aren’t surprised to hear that MPS students attend the Wisconsin State Fair—but the fact that students are competing in the youth livestock show gets some attention. This year, students showed seven sheep and one heifer at the fair, marking the second year that Vincent High School has taken part in competition.
Vincent High School of Agricultural Sciences is the only school in Milwaukee County to offer an agriculture program, and allows students to work with sheep, cattle, a horse, and chickens. The school’s extensive greenhouse is used to grow house plants and aloe, which is then used to produce lip balm and lotions.
Students have worked all summer to learn what is needed to raise a market lamb. They studied nutrition, health, breeding, and exercise for their animals. At the Wisconsin State Fair, six students exhibited their lambs in the Market Lamb Show. This year’s lamb project started at the end of March, taking students to an auction in Columbus to select their lambs. Since then, the students have been working hard to get the sheep competition-ready.
The popular agriculture program at Vincent continues to grow. The school’s beef program started in January—and the school gained media attention when its two heifers escaped the barn and went for a stroll down Brown Deer Road. The culmination of this year’s beef program has one young man showing a heifer at the fair for the first time.
All seven students competed twice this year during the State Fair – once in a market class where animals are judged on their appearance; muscling, amount of fat, structure, and balance, and once for showmanship where the exhibitor is judged on
their ability to effectively present their animal. One of the Vincent students, who will be a senior, plans to go to college at Texas A&M to be a veterinarian.
Animal science teacher Monica Gahan works with the students and animals. "The agriculture program at Vincent offers valuable experience that leads to career pathways in nutrition, marketing, landscape and design, food science, technology, and more," Gahan said. "What’s especially exciting is the way that students learn compassion and taking care of something besides themselves. There's no price tag to put on that."