In suburb Frisco: agriculture is alive in schools

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While schools in some parts of the country are slashing agricultural science programs, one of the largest and most suburban districts in northern Texas says its program is booming.

Frisco ISD offers agricultural science programs in the ten high schools and in its vocational and technical training center.

"I stand up for agriculture because I know it's very important, even in an urban setting," said Megan Pruett, a teacher in agriculture.

Pruett explains that courses on animals and horticulture offer practical science lessons. There is also an opportunity to learn business. Students should consider feeding budgets and how to care for the animals they raise.

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"They feed the animal, take care of the animal and, at the end of the year, the animal is ready to go to the market," Pruett said.

"They have to go to this facility twice a day, even in the rain, sleet and snow," Pruett added. "It's the responsibility, it's the entrepreneurial spirit in the business world, it's a range of different skills that they acquire."

While some students want to continue their education in agriculture after high school, others find that the courses have another value.

Paige Musselman began attending agriculture classes at Wakeland High School because she was attracted to animals, but she decided not to pursue veterinary training in the future. Instead, she says that she has learned the trust and the spirit of the team.

"I think it has helped me a lot in terms of leadership and life skills learning," said Musselman.

She started raising rabbits in her first year and became a grade 10 goat.

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"I have to be here every day to do that," said Musselman. "I always do my best."

On Thursday, she was preparing one of her goats, Oswald, for the Collin County Junior Livestock Show, which included students from Allen, Plano, Farmersville, Anna, Princeton, Blue Ridge and others. The weeklong show includes youth from over a dozen Collin County FFAs and 4H local chapters.

Throughout the week, students present poultry, pigs, rabbits, horticulture, workshop projects, sheep, goats and cattle.

"It's like any other sport," said Carly Whitworth. "It looks like our UIL zone competition."

Whitworth, a student at Rick Reedy High School in Frisco, says she helped start the Future Farmers of America section of her school with 16 members. Whitworth says it's gone to 160.

"Everyone likes' Frisco? I did not think they had the FFA, "said Whitworth. "It's cool to see people's reactions when they realize that we have an impact on the FFA and that we have fairly active chapters."

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Frisco chapters are also competitive.

On Thursday, Whitworth won the Grand Champion Lightweight title with his goat, Cash.

"Spending so much time and effort is ultimately profitable," said Whitworth.

A life lesson learned outside the classroom and in the barn.