9/16/2013 10:36:00 AM Ind. students to raise cattle for school lunches
HAGERSTOWN, Ind. (AP) — School lunches are about to take on new meaning at Hagerstown Jr. Sr. High School.
Plans are underway for the school's students to raise their own beef cattle during agriculture classes this year, the same cows that will be slaughtered, butchered and, ultimately, turned into the hamburgers that will be served in the cafeteria.
Officials are calling the initiative "Where's The Beef?" and agriculture teacher Nathan Williamson says it will offer a unique learning opportunity for his students and a $2,000 cost savings for the Nettle Creek School Corporation's budget.
"It doesn't get any more hands-on than this," Williamson told the Palladium-Item (http://pinews.co/17UgwUv ). "They have a vested interest in this. All of these guys eat in the school cafeteria."
Students have begun erecting a fence on a hillside just northeast of the high school on land the school corporation owns.
The plan is to solicit bids for the cattle and buy up to 10 beef cattle annually, with students doing all the work as part of the requirements to complete the animal science and agriculture mechanics classes.
"We'll feed them corn throughout the winter," Williamson said. "The students will do all the work. And on top of just their general care-taking, I'd like to have some small projects for them and changing the feed rations so they can learn a little about that.
"Part of the end goal of this is to make it as much of a whole-school activity as possible," he said.
Students have responded well to the unusual school activities, especially having the opportunity to learn outside the traditional classroom.
"I love just learning this stuff," senior Eli Reagan said. "I don't get to do this stuff outside of school, so it's nice to come in and learn to build a fence, just in case I have to do it in the future. It's been a good time being outside of class and just working with our hands."
Senior Connor Mathews agrees. And he has a message for the school's underclassmen: "The class below us should really thank us for this."
The school corporation will be aided by donations from a