Across the street from Tuloso-Midway High School in a red building are hard-working students, preparing for the Nueces County Junior Livestock Show. They've been raising their chickens, rabbits, goats, pigs, sheep, and cows for judging next week, in hopes of taking home the big win.
"It's been crazy," says Matteson Kapa, a student at Tuloso-Midway.
Matteson has been showing pigs for years, but this year, she's showing off her first heffer. Kapa says the transition from pigs to a cow has been difficult; mainly because of the weight difference and temperament.
For others like Emily Dreyer, the stock show will be less nerve-wracking. Even though it's her first show, she'll be getting in front of the judges with her no-name chicken. The freshman says she was inspired to join the Future Farmers of America due to her sister, Kate's involvement. For the past months, Emily says she's learned a lot including time management.
"You have to stay on their schedule it's not always about you, you can't always do everything you want to because you have to deal with your animal," Dreyer says.
That's not the only lesson students learn from 4H and Future Farmers of America, Dreyer's peers say they've all learned responsibility, adding taking care of an animal is a full-time job.
Dreyer and her friends say there's no typical day at the agriculture center and the time you spend there depends on your animal. For Matteson Kapa, most of her time is taken by her cow; she requires two baths a day.
Candace Diegel, an agriculture science teacher at Tuloso-Midway, is one of many supervisors that teaches and watches her students take care of their livestock. She says the past months of hard work will all be worth it next week when they head over to the Richard M. Borchard Fairgrounds for the show.
"They're learning how to select, what to look for, where to look for it, and it teaches them the whole process. They know what happens you know after livestock shows. We want them to know what we're about, it's important, a lot of people don't know where their food comes from," Diegel says.
Diegel adds even if students lose, there's still something to gain from the months of hard work.
"The best part is the reward at the end, you know not always financial but the responsibility, the pride that they have."
For a full schedule of the Nueces County Junior Stock Show, visit this link.
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