Winnie, who is just slightly smaller than a combine, traveled from H & S Dairy in Winston-Salem to visit with students and help them learn about farming and the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. Gary Hamm and Don Roland spoke to students about how much milk cows produce, how much water they drink and how many stomachs they have. They also talked to students about what happens to milk when flavoring is added such as chocolate, strawberry or vanilla.
Hamm, Roland and Winnie joined a number of farmers and artisans who attended the school’s fit and fun frolic to educate students as part of the USDA Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Grant.
Chuck Puckett and Chad Badgett talked to students about farming and even had a couple of tractors at the school for kids to see. One tractor was an older version while the newer one was larger and even came complete with an enclosed cab and air conditioning.
“Kids don’t know anything about farming for the most part. They don’t know that most everything you eat came from a farm,” said Puckett. “I wanted to try to help, I wanted kids to be able to ask questions and see the equipment.”
They also talked to students about the importance of school and learning about science, to read and to do math. They said that many students do not realize what is involved in farming, particularly the amount of math involved.
Jim Radford brought his combine to show to students who also heard from Eddie Johnson and David Haynes, other area farmers. Robert Nichols brought his 100-year-old cane mill to show students how to grind sugar cane and make molasses.
“I wanted to show the children what it was like before you could go to the store and buy white sugar. Back then people made molasses,” he said.
Joe Allen, a local blacksmith wowed the students with his products, including skewers to roast marshmallows, iron leaves for embellishments and hooks. He even had a forge at the school where he melted iron to show students how easy it is to work with, garnering many “ooohs” and “aaahs.”
“I’m telling them all about blacksmithing. I really like helping the kids,” he said. “I’m demonstrating what it was like in yesteryear. This is a dying art and maybe I can inspire someone to get involved. All the kids seem very interested. They’ve got a thousand questions and really want to know what’s going on.”
Students also learned about traditional crafts such as quilting from Glennis Henderson, knitting from Sheryl Shore and canning from Lena White. All three of these women had examples of their crafts for students to see and even feel as well as explaining the process and why knowing these skills is important. They also traveled to stations where they learned how to make soap, about the dangers of tobacco, portion control and the importance of a balanced diet. To work off some of their energy and prove that exercising can be fun, students completed obstacle course activities.
Throughout the day, students also received an apple for a snack, a pedometer to track how many steps they make in a day and a free book from the Reading Is Fundamental program.
Faculty at the school managed to tie the fit and fun frolic, with its focus on farming and heritage, to the school system’s theme of pride in the past, promise for the present and purpose for the future. They asked farmers to specifically talk to students about the importance of school in their line of work to encourage students to do their best.
“Past, present and future is alive and well here today. I’ve been amazed to see how much these students have learned about farming, nutrition and wellness and how that ties into the 21st century,” said Principal Sandra Scott. “Our task is to make sure, through authentic learning, that we don’t forget our past in making the bridge to the future.”
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.