Friday, August 9, 2019
Students in the Vincent High School agriculture program turned in their final exams this week at the Wisconsin State Fair. Five high schoolers have worked all year raising animals in preparation for judging at the fair. Their journey began in spring when students selected and purchased the lambs and calves that have been part of their curriculum throughout the school year.
As an urban school district, many people are surprised to learn that Milwaukee Public Schools offers a robust agriculture program. The school is home to several barns plus a chicken coop and greenhouse.
This year marked the third year that Vincent High School has taken part in the State Fair livestock competition. Students showed five sheep and two heifers at the fair.
The students worked all year to learn what is needed to raise market lambs and breeding heifers. They studied nutrition, health, breeding, and exercise for their animals. At the Wisconsin State Fair, four students exhibited their lambs in the Market Lamb Show and two students showed commercial breeding heifers.
All five students competed twice this year during the State Fair—once in a market class, in which animals are judged on their appearance that includes muscling, amount of fat, structure, and balance; and once for showmanship, in which the exhibitor is judged on their ability to effectively present their animal.
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, goats, pigs, and chickens through the Animal Science Pathway. Six agriculture pathways are offered Vincent: Animal Science, Agribusiness and Entrepreneurship, Environmental Science, Food Science, Horticulture Science, and Culinary Arts.
The popular agriculture program at Vincent continues to grow, and offers benefits beyond spending time with farm animals each day. Students gain an understanding of where food comes from, the challenges in maintaining a food supply, and the day-to-day diligence needed to care for animals and food crops. They also learn patience, problem solving, compassion, and time management.
Animal science teacher Monica Gahan spends countless hours with the students and animals. "There is something for everyone in the field of agriculture, and being the one to share those opportunities with the students is a great privilege.”
For more information on the Vincent Agriculture Program or the Vincent FFA chapter (formerly Future Farmers of America), please contact Gail Kraus at firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 236-1422.
MPS high schools begin the 2019–20 school year on Monday, August 12, 2019. To enroll, visit mpsmke.com/enroll.