Passing along a regional agricultural tradition, Killeen Independent School District students presented lessons from the farm to touring prekindergarten and kindergarten students.
Children toured the Killeen Junior Livestock Show on Thursday, while high school juniors and seniors from KISD Career Center agriculture classes and FFA chapters provided animal facts.
About 450 children stepped into the Killeen Special Events Center, many holding their noses, as they walked through stations set up around the livestock show.
Carley Reavis and Holland Turnquist, seniors at the Career Center, showed off a sheep and provided interesting facts. Sheep, Turnquist said, are not as dumb as some people think and are actually as easy to train as some dogs.
The woolly creatures have only bottom teeth and they have scent glands in their hooves, making it easy to find their next grassy meal.
“This is a big deal for us,” Reavis said of the morning tours, “because Killeen is not the agricultural town it once was. A lot of parents have never done this. Many are soldiers who move around. This gives these kids an opportunity to see animals they might never see.”
Also, said Turnquist, the livestock tour shows young students one way high school students make money for college and where we get our food.
“There is a lot more to this than keeping a goldfish,” she said.
Hunter Hill, also a Career Center senior, said the livestock show culminates several months of raising an animal.
He received a piglet in August he could cradle like a baby.
Now his pig weighs 285 pounds.
“Hopefully, some of these kids will want to get into FFA, too,” he said.
April Kimble helped chaperone the livestock show fieldtrip for her pre-kindergarten son Brennan’s Clear Creek Elementary School class.
“I see them learning where animals come from, uses for animals and the environment they come from. Some of these kids are never around animals. It’s good for them to know where their food comes from.”
Patricia Grider, kindergarten teacher at Duncan Elementary School said her students have been learning differences of living and non-living things and that they would soon learn about different kinds of animals.
“They’re excited,” she said of her students. “They love it. Most are military students and they don’t get the opportunity to see animals.”
Killeen’s livestock show is in its 60th year and kindergarten students have toured the grounds for many of those years.
Recently, high school agriculture teachers decided to add educational value to the experience.
Career Center seniors Kailey Cassidy and Amber Peck talked with students about pigs. They lack the glands to produce sweat, leading to the habit of wallowing in cool mud.
They are intelligent, have a keen sense of smell and can grow to more than 250 pounds.
“Today is important because it gives our FFA a chance to give kids the opportunity to see animals they might never see,” Peck said.
Four years in FFA, she said, taught her leadership and responsibility and built important friendships.