Jordan’s farmers learn to focus on ‘what’s really important’

Apr. 09, 2013 @ 06:19 PM

Once, Jordan High School might have been considered a rural school.

Today, long after development has spread far along the Interstate 40 corridor, agriculture awareness still has a place at the school.

This week, when the Central Piedmont Livestock Show convenes, more than a dozen lambs and a handful of goats will be shown and sold, after being cared for by Jordan students.

“Raising livestock has taught these kids something about stepping up and learning responsibility,” said Daniel Beasley, agriculture teacher at Jordan for the past five years.

Caitlin Liles, 17, is completing her last year as a student at Jordan, where she credits Beasley with inspiring her to become involved in the program. “Mr. Beasley encouraged me and I have learned so much about myself and how to manage my time, all through raising my two lambs,” she said.

Liles, who wants eventually to be an exotic animal veterinarian, estimates she spends about six hours a week with her lambs. “This has taught me to be a leader,” she said. “I help assign and organize responsibilities for other students.”

Showing a lamb named Hunter, Ashley Jenkins, 17, says the greatest responsibility she has learned is to be responsible for an animal that depends on her.

“This is the greatest project that I have ever been part of in school,” Jenkins said. “It will be a little sad when it is over but you learn to keep your focus on what is really important and your role as the caretaker.”

At 16, Carly Phelps says raising her lamb has taught her leadership and communication skills. “You have to teach those that have never been part of this type of project and communicate what is really important for the health and care of these animals,” Phelps said.

While most 16- year-olds have other priorities, Phelps says that she estimates she has spent about 40 hours caring for her lamb since February. “This is a really unique program and I am happy to raise awareness about all of the hard work and important lessons we learn here at Jordan,” Phelps said.

Eventually, Phelps hopes to continue her education at a veterinary program and wants to be a large-animal clinician.

Farming may not be present within the Jordan High School district. However, from the halls of this high school, there are aspirations and goals being learned from the efforts of kids who choose to raise livestock as a school project.