Kindergarten students in Iredell-Statesville Schools visited the Iredell County Fairgrounds earlier this month to participate in "Wake Up to Ag Day".
Little did North Iredell High School senior Alex Miller know that her idea that originated a little over a year ago would actually come to life.
"When I first talked to Mr. Walker about possibly having an event to teach not just people in our school, but the whole county more about agriculture, I had no idea it would ever turn into this," explained Miller.
Once the idea was born, the planning and logistics began to fall into place due to the collaboration with the Iredell County Cooperative Extension Services and the Future Farmers of America chapters from Lake Norman High School, North Iredell High School, South Iredell High School and West Iredell High School. Since an agricultural field trip was currently missing with the kindergarten curriculum, the committee decided that kindergartners would be their ideal audience. Twelve elementary schools in I-SS participated in the event, resulting 986 students learning more about agriculture.
Groups of students were led through each of the stations where they learned more about where things they eat in their everyday life come from. Students also participated in planting a seed, holding a baby chick, making butter, and learning more about electrical safety and veterinarian skills.
The kindergarten students were not the only ones learning from this experience.
"This served as a tremendous opportunity for the FFA students to be able to work on their public speaking skills," stated Bryant York, agricultural mechanics teacher at North Iredell High School. "Our students have a lot of potential, but rarely have the opportunity to express their skills. The younger kids really look up to the high school students and you can tell that by the way they pay attention."
The event's success hinged on the collaboration of schools and community partnerships.
"The success of this event would not have been possible without the generous donations and collaboration from over 500 people. Not only were we able to treat each kindergartner with ice cream, but also a goody bag," York added.
So far the responses from the teachers have been overwhelmingly positive and have already encouraged this to become an annual event. The committee is already looking for ways they can improve the event and is eager to start the planning for next year.
A special thanks to the following sponsors:
Baa Moo Farms
Ben Shelton, DVM
Bi-Lo Grocery Store
Circle P Boers
Crazy W Ranch
Daddy Pete's Plant Pleaser
Dusty Road Jerseys
Humane Society of Iredell County
Iredell County Cattlemen's Association
Iredell County Cooperative Extension Service
Iredell County Farm Bureau
Iredell County Soil & Water Conservation District
Iredell-Statesville Schools Agriculture and FFA students
James River Equipment
Larry K. Watts, DVM, PPLC
Lazy 5 Ranch in Mooresville
NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Piedmont Farm Systems
Southern Farm Supply
The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, Inc.
Troutman Fire Department