HJA Presents Agricultural, Industrial Arts Program

June 24, 2017

The students at Harris Junior Academy (HJA) in Pendleton, Ore., want to present our agricultural and industrial arts (IA) program. Over the past few years this program has been growing. It started with an IA class taught by Al Olson. In his class we start with simple projects like a birdhouse and increase to the point of building small livestock barns (advanced IA class). We are also introduced to welding, scorching and rebuilding small motors.

Our agriculture side of the program takes many projects. Violeta Lopez and her students in kindergarten through second grade started with raising chicks in their classroom. Now students take care of all aspects of the chickens, from feeding them to selling eggs to the community. They are easy to take care of, and their feathers are pretty. Sometimes the chickens escape their pen, and we have fun catching them. We also enjoy listening to their happy clucking. 

Sandra Easley, our teacher's aide, and the third- and fourth-graders take care of the garden. They plant fruits, vegetables and flowers. A variety of things happen with the plants. Some of them get sold, others are given as gifts for family and friends, but the majority go into our garden.

Taking care of a garden isn't as easy as it seems. A while back the wind began to blow really hard. It ripped up the ground cover that was protecting the plants. Our school had to work together to keep it in place until we could get more stakes to hold it down.

Shannon Whidden’s fifth- through eighth-grade students take care of the baby goats, which are this year's small-animal project. We feed them, clean their pen and take them out to play. The goats are demanding. Their milk has to be a certain temperature. They throw themselves at the fence when they want out, and then it's hard to get them to go back. They are loving in their own way. They are always excited to see us. They always follow us even when we don't want them to. They run and play with us during recess. We named them Felix and Oliver. They think they're one of us. 

All of the students at HJA love this program. They were happy to know they can help with livestock and do industrial arts. Our hope is to continue to grow the program over the coming years.

Violet Lopez, HJA eighth-grader, and Kylee Sellers, seventh-grader