Some of the youngest area school children toured the Killeen Junior Livestock Show during a barnyard tour in the middle of town.
Pre-kindergarten students from at least three Killeen schools toured the show at the Killeen Special Events Center on Thursday and learned from high school students from the Killeen Independent School District Career Center.
Career Center teachers Sarah Crawford and Eylisia Huckabee said the tours sprang up in recent years as a convenient and profitable learning exchange.
The little ones learn some basic facts about animals and get exposure to the show, while the high school students take on leadership and practice speech skills.
Senior Nia Hancock, an Ellison High School and Career Center student, started simple: informing a group of students that the animal she was showing was called a goat. Some of the children thought it was a sheep.
She raised the male goat since summer and will part with it today at the conclusion of the show.
“We’re teaching them what they eat, and that’s just like you can have cats and dogs for pets, you can also keep goats,” Hancock said.
“This gives the little children an opportunity to see and learn about the animals, and really our focus is on building leadership skills,” Crawford said. “We want to train them to be leaders.”
Students toured the show barn, checking out sheep, goats, chickens, turkeys and rabbits.
They found out that goats provide milk and meat, can live to about 15 years and have only lower teeth.
Huckabee said the agriculture and veterinary assistant students prepared their presentations and mainly spoke from personal experience raising animals.
For Hancock, today marks the end of her third livestock show. “I wish I could keep doing it, if you could do it in college,” she said.
“I loved going to the barn, spending time with (Eddie), feeding him and trimming him up,” she said. “He got excited to see me, just like a dog.”
FFA emphasizes leadership skills and career preparation, Huckabee said. “It’s fun for the students and it teaches responsibility.”